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12 Free
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12 Free
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Frequently Asked Questions About Italian Red

What is "Vino da Tavola", or "Vino Rosso"?

These are the most basic wines you will find in Italy, in that they meet basic hygiene requirements and are quite cheap. Online retailers in the UK will often add several bottles of red Vino da Tavola into cases of wine they sell, ensuring their costs remain low. This type of wine will not be a major talking point here.

Why is denomination so important?

The quality of the grapes used to produce a wine will determine and influence the quality of the finished product. In the DOCG regions, a combination of their unique soil and growing conditions such as, humidity, warmth and sunlight, prove favorable to the grapes that are grown there, resulting in wines of unbelievable flavors and aromas.

Information About Italian Red

What are the best Italian Red Wines?

When thinking of Italian red wines, it's hard not to imagine an entire village being involved in grape stomping parties. Luckily, you don't have to stomp your own grapes to enjoy a good bottle of Italian red wine. Here is a list of Italy's major reds:

Alto Adige DOC

It covers the majority of wines produced in the Trentino-Alto Adige region in Northern Italy. It's also the part of Italy that is German-speaking. In all of Europe, it has the highest vineyards, which can be found as high as 1,100 meters. The high altitude preserves the higher acidity in the grapes, which results in unparalleled Italian cold-climate red wines. This region produces red Lagrein, which is an award-winning red wine that’s fresh, lean and long.

Amarone DOCG

Wines from the Veneto region that are full-bodied and made from Corvina grapes, where producers harvest and dry their grapes to make their aromas more concentrated. This produces dry and firm wines, but the ripeness of the grapes makes the fruitiness more concentrated and adds to the sweetness. The flavor of this wine is reminiscent of dried prunes and fresh cherries and is to be enjoyed with strong, savory foods or intense cheese.


Made from Nebbiolo grapes, the Barbaresco is similar to Barolo, which is made in an area nearby. Barbaresco, however, is a lighter-bodied wine and easier to drink. It’s best drunk when aged from eight to fifteen years. Aging depends on the producer.


A wine style that is produced primarily in the region of Piedmont. It has a strong berry flavor, few tannins and can be dry, light or medium-bodied. It goes well with most food. The areas of Asti or Alba generally produce the best wines.


Perhaps the best red wines produced in Italy, they are full-bodied, yet dry. It’s a noble wine made in the Barolo area of Piedmont from Nebbiolo grapes. These wines can improve and age for anything from twenty to thirty years. They are exceptional and have aromas of chocolate, tobacco, and dried red fruits, and notes of tar, herbs, strawberries, and earth are typically found. They also have a firm, tannic structure. Some of them are best to drink after aging for ten to twenty years.

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

It is perhaps the most rare, expensive Tuscan wine, with the longest aging. It’s produced with Sangiovese grapes from the area of Montalcino and has a dry concentrated flavor that's quite intense. It’s quite tannic and best enjoyed after aging for 15 years.

Chianti DOCG.

It is located in a small mountainous area in the heart of Tuscany. Chianti’s are medium-bodied and very dry. They’re also a tannic wine that has a sharp cherry flavor, from the Sangiovese grapes that are mainly used. Chianti Classico is considered the best. Some Chiantis are fine to drink when they’re young. However, pricier wines and those with the label riserva, are best for aging as they’re more concentrated.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

It comes from the Abruzzo region and is made from Montepulciano grapes. In general, it’s a medium-bodied, flavorful wine that tastes of red fruits and plant-like notes. There are also smooth, lighter wines that are easy-drinking; however, the best wines are the ones that are denser and more concentrated.


It is somewhat tannic but dry and lean, that has a varying intensity in its cherry flavors and aromas. It’s medium-bodied and produced mainly from Corvina grapes from the Veneto region, specifically, the area of Valpolicella. Some Valpolicella is very good, especially the single-vineyard wines.

How to Read an Italian Wine Label?

European labels can be difficult to read, and with a whole different approach than the New World. While in Europe they focused on Terroir and sense of place, we tend to state the varietal upfront. You do not have to worry, here’s a quick guideline on how to approach Italian labels:

DOCG: stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.It is the highest and most strict set of rules all over Italy, defining where the grapes can be grown, what varieties are allowed and how wines can be aged. There are 74 DOCGs in Italy.

DOC: An abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which is equivalent to the French AOC level, standing one step below DOCG. Rules govern production and style but aren't as stringent as those for DOCGs. There are 334 DOCs in Italy.

IGT: aka Indicazione Geografica Tipica, and sits one level above the most basic category . Introduced in 1992, this classification allows winemakers to use grapes and craft styles not allowed under DOC and DOCG regulations. There are currently 118 IGTs in Italy.

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