Italy’s Most Important Red Grape Varietals

Italy’s Most Important Red Grape Varietals

Italy’s Most Important Red Grape Varietals


It’s pronounced “san-joe-vay-say,” and it’s the red grape that powers many of Italy’s most popular and world-class wines, such as those from Chianti, Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello.

Sangiovese is widely planted in Tuscany, where it is regularly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce the “Super Tuscan” wines discussed previously, as well as in the Umbria area.


While Sangiovese has characteristics that vary according on the terroir (soil and growing conditions) and winemaking processes used in various locations around Italy, it is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. 


Expect Sangiovese to be medium-bodied, with tight tannins and flavors of dried red fruit, cherry, and plum in general (although it might be lighter or richer depending on the vineyard).


A prominent Italian grape variety known as nerbiolo (pronounced nerb-uh-lo), nerbiolo is well recognized for being the basis of high-end wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. 


Nebbiolo is also noted for being one of the most difficult to cultivate in Italy. As one of the earliest types to bud, it is also one of the latest to mature, making it a valuable asset.


A lengthy maceration procedure is necessary to produce wines from Nebbiolo since the grape’s skin is relatively thin and the grape has a low color pigmentation. Nebbiolo-based wines are noted for their acidity and tannins, and this adds to the fact that these wines thrive from maturing in oak barrels.

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When grown in the right conditions, Nebbiolo produces rich, dark-colored wines with loads of complexity and flavors. These include dark fruits and berries such as cranberries and blackberries, spices and herbs, and leather. It may not be the best option for novices, but it is an absolute essential as you go farther along your wine adventure.


Barbera (pronounced bar-bear-ah) is cultivated in the world-class region of Piedmont, most notably in the area around the cities of Asti and Alba, which gives rise to the popular wines Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba. Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba are both made from Barbera grapes. In terms of popularity, Barbera has long been regarded as the monarch of the Italian red wine grapes, but in recent decades, Sangiovese has surpassed it in this regard.


Barbera is going to be more of a spicy drink with a medium body and less tannins, but with a reasonable level of acidity, as opposed to other red wines. The flavors will be of red and black berry fruit, and the overall appearance of the wines will be brilliant and juicy. They are wonderful bargains, and they go well with both classic Italian cuisine and pizza, among other things.


When it comes to popular Italian wines, the corvina grape (pronounced “core-vee-nah”) is a crucial ingredient in classics like as Amarone and Valpolicella from the Veneto area, two strong hitters that must be fully explored as part of your Italian wine trip.



 Amarone wines are among of the most expensive in Italy, and they have the ability to age for many years in the bottle. They may be rather pricey, but it’s difficult to argue that they aren’t worth the investment. In addition to being well-liked, Valpolicella is also available at prices that are significantly more affordable.

It’s common for Corvina to be a touch lighter in body and color than some of the other richer red wines. It’s a light, easy-drinking wine with a lot of red fruit and black cherry notes.


The strong acidity of corvina may also provide a hint of sour cherry taste to the wine.
Wine variety:


Montepulciano (pronounced “mon-tay-pul-chee-ah-no”) is a wonderful grape varietal to have in your back pocket of wine knowledge. 



It goes well with a broad range of foods, it is well-liked by most audiences, and it is reasonably priced. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a popular Montepulciano wine, and we’ve sampled numerous bottles ranging in price from $8 to $15 that were excellent value for the money we paid for them.


Montepulciano has a little smoky and tobacco fragrance, and its mouthfeel is velvety, with notes of red berry and plum to complement it.


The term dolcetto literally translates as “small sweet one.” It is unclear what this has to do with the wine’s name, although others speculate that it is because Dolcetto (pronounced dole-chetoh) is a variety that is simpler to cultivate than other grape varieties. The name has absolutely nothing to do with the flavor of the drink.


Dolcetto may be a touch peppery and has a low acidity, so it’s best to enjoy it while it’s still fresh.
Dolcetto is often associated with the tastes of blueberry, blackberry, and black licorice.

Dolcetto wines, which are often priced between $10 and $15, provide a lot of flavor for a little investment.
“Aglianico” is an Italian grape variety that is particularly popular in the Campania and Basilicata areas of Southern Italy. 



It is a huge, powerful grape that is designed to age well. It appears black in the glass, with a substantial body and a dense tannic structure that leads to a strong, rustic mouthfeel. Aglianico wines are best savored after they’ve been allowed to mature for a few years, particularly with a robust meal to accompany them.


In Southern Italy, the Primitivo grape (pronounced “primitivo”) is the most important grape variety. It’s genetically comparable to Zinfandel, which is why it’s the most well-known of the varietals we’ll be discussing today.
In terms of body (although it may sometimes be lighter), it’s normally full-bodied, with fruit tastes of blackberry, violets, and spicy pepper overtones.



Nero d’Avola is a red wine produced in Italy.

Nero d’Avola (pronounced “Nare-oh dav-oh-la”), which translates as “Black Grape of Avola,” is becoming nearly as popular as Malbec in Italy, because to its increasing popularity. It was only a few years ago that you would be fortunate to find one or two bottles on the shelves of a store, but now many stores are giving a larger assortment.


 Originally from Sicily, it is now planted around the world and used to make high-quality wines that are usually available at cheap rates.
Nero d’Avola is typically black in color on the pour, with a robust body and strong herbal notes that linger beyond the finish. 

It has a peppery aftertaste. It is, like so many other Italian red wines, excellent for food pairing but also stands on its own as a stand-alone beverage.