Wine-growing Regions in Italy

Wine-growing Regions in Italy

Wine-growing Regions in Italy

You’re now prepared to take on the most difficult task: learning about the best wine areas in Italy. You’ll get a stronger understanding of the processes, qualities, and traditions that go into each bottle of wine you consume if you combine the information you’ve gathered thus far with a little geographical knowledge and experience. Along with this, you will be able to pick a wine with more confidence and understanding.


So, as a homage to all Italy has to offer, let’s take a deeper dive into the various areas and examine the many kinds of wines produced in each. Please bring a nice hat (ideally a fedora) and prepare to learn how to understand the language of Italian wine.

There are many different microclimates and many different styles of wine to choose from.

“When Santa pays a visit to his paisans, he’ll be accompanied by Dominic.”
“Because reindeer are incapable of climbing the mountains of Italy.”
— “Dominic the Donkey,” a song by Lou Monte
Because of the country’s closeness to the Alps and its continual undulating hills, Italy has 20 distinct wine regions, each with its own microclimate suitable for producing all of the grapes we’ve discussed.


Anyone who has traveled throughout Italy by rail would testify to the fact that the country’s vast and varied terrain is often breathtaking. Small growing regions and pockets of natural beauty scattered across Italy are part of what makes the country, as well as many other European places, such a sought-after destination in the wine world.



One easy tip we’ve learned is to look up the exact area of the wine(s) you’re drinking on Google to find out more about it. Reading a brief primer on the terrain, climate, and local culture may be really helpful; if you’re as hooked to mobile technology as we are, have your smartphone or tablet near by at all times.


Having an understanding of where these locations are located on the map is also beneficial. This manner, you may begin to establish which regions of the nation produce the wines that you like the most, and you can go even further into the smaller surrounding areas to uncover some true jewels.


Just as we’ve done in other chapters, we’ll limit our consideration of wine areas to those that are available to the ordinary wine consumer in his or her local wine store or on the normal wine list at Italian restaurants.



 In the event that you decide to make your quest of Italian wines a lifelong adventure – which we hope you will – we strongly suggest that you sample from all of the smaller producers as well.


So, let’s start in Piedmont, which produces some of the world’s greatest wines and is home to two of the three “Killer B’s” of Italian wine — Barolo and Barbaresco — and is considered the heart of the country’s wine industry. This is followed by Brunello, the third “B,” which will be covered in the Tuscany section.

Italy's Most Important White Grape Varietals


Piedmont is a region in Italy (Piemonte)

Piedmont is a region of Italy situated in the country’s northwest quadrant. It’s possible that you’re acquainted with it since it was the site of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, which were hosted in Turin, the capital of Piedmont.

Many medium to large wine stores may include a part of Piedmont wines in their Italian wine display, which is usually located at the front of the store. (This is also frequent in the case of Tuscan wines.)


Try to visit shops that arrange their assortment in this manner since it demonstrates an awareness for the diversity of wines available from different countries and regions.

Piedmont is given its own section since, like Bordeaux in France, it is responsible for the production of many of Italy’s internationally acclaimed wines, such as the aforementioned Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as Barbera, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo, among others.


Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto are the most important grapes cultivated in Piedmont, and you’ll notice that the name of the wine is occasionally followed by the name of the grape or the name of the area on the label. 


Barolo Barolo (pronounced “bah-roe-loe”) is a tiny region of little over 30 square miles in northern Italy that produces some of the country’s most intense, complex, and tannic red wines, as well as some of the world’s best. Each of these wines is a gorgeous representation of the Nebiolo grape, and they are strong hitters that don’t achieve their full potential until they have spent an adequate eight to twelve years maturing in the bottle.


When coupled with the correct meal, Barolo wines are highly food-friendly. The meal should be something substantial, such as red meat, that can stand up to the force of the wine. Although Barolo wines are not affordable, their higher price tag reflects the fact that they provide a premium wine experience.





In addition to Barolo, Barbaresco is another super-small wine region that is nestled next door to it. Barbaresco wines, however, are distinct from their neighboring Barolos, despite the fact that both are made from the same Nebbiolo grape.


Its closeness to the Tanaro River, which passes through the area and produces a somewhat different microclimate than Barolo, helps Barbaresco produce its excellent red wine. This results in fewer tannic tannins in the wines of Barbaresco, which allows them to be enjoyed at an earlier age than the wines of the Barolo region.


World-class wines of this caliber may fetch a premium, and one characteristic Barbaresco wines have in common with Barolos is their exorbitant price tags, which typically begin in the $40 range and can reach several hundred dollars.


The Nebbiolo grape, like the Pinot Noir vine grown in the Burgundy area of France, is notoriously difficult to cultivate. Consequently, depending on weather conditions and other factors, yields might sometimes be lower than expected, and prices will vary to reflect these fluctuations.


This is when the knowledge passed down through generations of winemakers comes into play. Many of the strongly entrenched winemakers have decades of expertise in the cultivation of these grapes to their advantage. 

Nebbiolo grapes have been producing superb wines for many years in the hands of these knowledgeable Italian winemakers, and their reputation precedes them.




Gavi (pronounced “gah-vee”) is a wonderful and highly acclaimed white wine made in the Piedmont area of Italy from the Cortese grape variety. These wines are fruity, dry, and light, with a sharp acidity that complements the fruit. Lemon, lime, green apple, and pear are some of the most common flavors. In 1998, Gavi was granted DOCG designation.


According to what we’d read, the wine is particularly well-suited to seafood dishes, so we decided to give it a try. We matched the 2013 Mauro Sebaste Gavi (which was readily available) with fresh Copper River salmon (white fish may be even better), which was simply brushed with garlic olive oil and lemon glaze before serving. It was fantastic, and it’s a combo we’ll be using more often in the future.


The bottom truth is that white wine connoisseurs would be doing themselves a disservice if they ignored Gavi. Many bottles are priced between $15 and $20, and you’d be hard pushed to find a better-tasting white wine at a comparable price point.




Moscato d’Asti (Moscato d’Asti)

Moscato d’Asti (pronounced “mos-cot-oh dahss-tee”) is a white wine produced in Asti, Italy, from the Moscato grape, as the label in this example plainly states. It is an incredibly popular white wine in the (slightly) sparkling wine category.