If you are coming to Italy, and you are looking forward to tasting the amazing and affordable Italian red wines, this list is for you.
It is a shortlist of Italian red wines I like to recommend to my foodie friends who are traveling all over the country. Surely, it does not include the great variety of Italian wines, but it consists of those kinds of wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.
Here you are the top 10 Italian red wines you should try before you leave.
Amarone della Valpolicella (Veneto)
With its intense spicy taste, this wine is like a serenade to a lover.
It is produced with a particular process starting from grapes partially dried, then fermented until all sugars turn into alcohol. The result is a full-bodied wine with a high level of alcohol (often over 15°) and elegant tannins, suitable for long aging.
To pair with: herb cheeses, gorgonzola, smoked cheeses, risotto Milanese style.
Try: classic Campolongo di Torbe 2009 Masi (wine shop ave. price: € 98,00 bottle).
Barolo (Piemonte, Langhe e Roero)
This wine is produced with grapes of high hills, and it is very different according to the year of harvest, the location of the vineyard and the age of the plants.
Taste: amazing nose with complex and intense sensations of red flowers, black cherries, licorice, tobacco, spices, and balsamic herbs. It is smooth and strong at the same time, with powerful and rounded tannins.
To pair with: Brasato al Barolo (meat marinated in wine), roasted lamb, Grana Padano cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, grilled beef.
Try: Barolo Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva 2009 (wine shop ave. price: € 85,00 bottle).
Taste: strong acidity able to balance a high content of alcohol. Its flavor is powerful and elegant at the same time, with typical cherry and red fruits flavor turning with age to spicy and cinnamon, sometimes licorice and mushrooms.
To pair with: sheep cheeses, pig’s trotters, carpaccio, tortellini, boiled meat, taleggio cheese, fontina.
Try: Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza 2012 Olim Bauda (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).
Brunello di Montalcino (Toscana)
Taste: soft rounded tannins, salinity, moderate alcohol, splendid nose sensation of roses and red fruit followed by mineral notes and licorice.
To pair with: pork, roasted meat (duck, chicken), hare, pecorino Romano.
Try: Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2010 Fattoria Altesino (wine shop: € 35,00 bottle).
Sangiovese (Emilia Romagna)
Taste: fruity nose with the sensation of black raspberry, spices, and wood. Nice salinity, full-body, elegant tannins, and spicy aftertaste.
To pair with: pasta al ragu, meat, aged cheeses, game meat.
Try: Sangiovese AVI riserva 2010 San Patrignano (wine shop ave. price: € 16,00 bottle).
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane (Abruzzo)
To pair with: smoked beef, Alto Adige speck, smoked prosciutto, spaghetti al ragu, roasted lamb, pasta amatriciana, sausages.
Try: Colline Teramane Pieluni Riserva 2010 Illuminati (wine shop ave. price: €22,00 bottle).
Aglianico del Taburno (Campania)
Taste: delicate nose fresh grass and wild flowers.
To pair with: fish and meat.
Try: Vigna Cataratte Riserva 2008 Fontanavecchia (wine shop: € 25,00 bottle).
Taste: fresh and delicate wine lively and persistent with fruity sensations.
To pair with: roasted chicken, pasta with meat sauce.
Try: Il Frappato 2013 Occhipinti (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).
Etna Rosso (Sicilia)
This wine comes from the vineyards that grow on volcanic soil, and it is full of minerals. Taste: red fruits, aromatic herbs, and salt.
To pair with: pecorino romano, pecorino sardo, escalopes with marsala, tripe.
Try: Etna Rosso San Lorenzo 2013 Girolamo Russo (wine shop ave. price: € 38,00).
Taste: powerful and intense nose very complex. Fruity and aromatic herbs, cherry, mint, and oregano. Full body, persistent taste. It needs a long refinement in the bottle.
To pair with: roasted meat, red meat, braised, hare and aged cheeses.
Try: Montefalco Sagrantino Chiusa di Pannone 2008 Antonelli (wine shop ave. price: € 30,00).