10 sweet wines to try before you leave Italy

Never leave Italy or buying very expensive bottle of sweet wine from all over the world without tasting some of the incredible sweet wines produced in Italy.

Many people believe sweet wine is just a light wine, beloved from women, hard to pair with food. Go beyond stereotypes ad discover the root of wine making. Sweet wine always was served to heroes coming back from ancient wars, sounds like hospitality, celebration and tradition. Never lose the opportunity to surprise friends by pairing cheeses or dessert with the right sweet wine, or sip it slowly for a multi-sensorial meditation moment.

1) Moscato d’Asti (Piemonte) –Let’s start with a super classic, an amazingly aromatic Moscato from the region of Asti in Piedmont region, north-east of Italy.

Bright yellow colour that turns gold with the age, intense and complex aromas from tropical fruit to white flowers, fig and peach. In the mouth is sumptuous, almost balsamic.  Try: Moscato d’Asti DOCG La Morandina

2) Alto Adige Gewürztraminer Passito (Trentino Alto Adige) – Alias The Amazing elegance. Great wines coming from this area where nature challenge humans with its climate and mountains. Great aromas, long lasting finish, softness and elegance are amazing. Try Alto adige Gewürztraminer Passito Cashmere Elena Walch or Try Alto adige Gewürztraminer Passito Sanct Velentin Comtess’ San Michele Appiano

3) Recioto di Soave  (Veneto)  – Tasting wines produced by families that are making wines since centuries is always an emotional way to get in touch with the real soul of a place. When the characteristics of local grapes named Garganega, together with the soil  and climate so unique meet the expertise of passionate winemaker , the result is paradise in a glass. Try: Recioto di Soave Renobilis Gini or Recioto di Soave Classico Le Colombare Pieropan

4) Fior d’Arancio Passito dei Colli Euganei  (Veneto) – this little piece of land in  Veneto region is full of magic and beauty. The soil is volcanic on a side and calcareous-rocky on the other side, with a great vegetation, flowers and, all around, vineyards.

The grape is the Moscato Giallo, here named Fior d’Arancio (orange blossom), Tropical fruit, buttery, floral notes will enchant your nose, while the freshness will give a breeze to your mouth. Try: Colli EuganeiFior d’Arancio Passito Alpianae Vignalta

 5)Picolit (Veneto)  – if you’d like to try a legendary, rare wine, you’d choose a bottle of Picolit. The preciousness and prestige of this Italian sweet wine are renowned worldwide and are surely connected with the small quantity of product available since a genetic disease of the Picolit grape variety, creates a natural loss of grapes on the bunch. Is one of the wines to be tasted before die. Try: Colli orientali del Friuli Picolit Valentino Bitussi or Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit Marco Sara

6) ALBANA PASSITO (Romagna) – Albana is a local ancient variety, well known since the ancient Roman times. In the various soil of the region the Albana found a perfect home in southern Bologna province, a limestone and sandstone soil. This wine is famous for a legend listing the daughter of the Emperor Teodosio, Galla Placidia, in 453 A.C. shocked by the colour and taste of this wine exclaiming “this wine should be served from gold cups”. Try Romagna Albana Passito Innamorato by Poderi Morini or Romagna Albana Passito Scaccomatto by Fattoria Zerbina.

7)PASSITO DI NOTO (Sicily)  to the extreme south of Sicily, in enclosure of four villages, Noto, Roslini, Pachino, Avola, close to the sea and kissed by the sun, the vineyards of Moscato Bianco grows under high temperatures on a mix of sandy, limestone, clay and marine stones giving unique conditions to the wine. Be ready for an explosion of aromas, juicy yellow fruit to bite, balsamic notes and much more. Try Passito di Noto by Planeta or Passito di Noto by Feudo Ramaddini

8) CINQUE TERRE SCIACCHETRA’ (Liguria) – At the limit with Toscana, western side of the Riviera, the amazing Cinque Terre land offers breath-taking panoramic views, amazing food and unforgettable wines. The name of this wine comes from local Liguria dialect and means “press it “and “save it”. After harvest grapes are dried under sun then fermented and maturated but prices are high for a wine produced with a very big effort. This wine is lively in the mouth, a little tannic and salty, fresh and balanced. Try Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà by Cheo

9) GRECO DI BIANCO (Calabria)  – In a secluded corner of fascinating and challenging Locride in southern Calabria, the toe of Italian Peninsula, facing the Ionic sea and not far from the main City of the region, Reggio Calabria, there is a coastline named Riviera dei Gelsomini .Few miles outback, runs the final of the mountain chain, named here Aspromonte, here is our place, a small piece of land crave of one of the most precious and unique Sweet wines from Italy: The “ Greco di Bianco”. This amazing wine, unknown to the majority of people, is done with Malvasia and could be a great investment for a collector. Try Greco di Bianco by Cantine Lucà

10)PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA  DOLCE NATURALE (Puglia)   – in the amazing Puglia region, between Bari and Taranto, facing the Ionian sea, this area called Salento is famous for amazing seaside holidays, food and wine. Primitivo and Zinfandel are brothers, they descend from the same dna. The sweet version of Primitivo is obtained from fermentation of dried grapes on the plant with a late harvest. Taste this wine to try the quintessence of the word “Nirvana”. Try Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale – Giuseppe Attanasio 

Daniela Cassoni, Foodie & Founder @ www.gourmetaly.com, wine & travel expert

10 Italian white wines to try before you leave Italy

Are you coming to Italy? Are you looking forward to tasting Prosecco and Chianti? Be open mind and you will be incredibly surprised!

In this shortlist I want to recommend the best 10 Italian white wines to my foodie friends traveling all over the country. Surely, it does not include the great variety of Italian wines, but it consists of wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.

  1. Frascati Superiore (Lazio)

    When in Rome you cannot miss tasting the edge of local white wines.Color: straw color, almost brilliant.
    Taste: Persistent bouquet with a floral scent and exotic fruit.
    To pair with: tonnarello cacio e pepe, fresh cheeses, shellfish.
    Category: DOCG.
    Try: Poggio Verde Principe Pallavicini (wine shop ave. price: € 12,00 bottle).

  2. Chardonnay (Piemonte)

    If you are looking for a completely different Chardonnay experience, try a luxury Chardonnay made in the Langhe region (in the Barbaresco area).
    Here, every vineyard and wine producer will offer you a different kind of wines, due to the variety of soil that changes meter by meter.
    Taste: superb concentration of perfumes, mature fruits, a lively acidity, and amazing long-lasting persistence. If aged, it becomes more and more harmonic.
    To pair with: truffle, fish, white meat, soups, and pasta.
    Try: Chardonnay 2013 Gaya & Rey (wine shop: € 145,00 bottle).

  3. Friuli Colli Orientali (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

    Taste: Scent of hay and stones, very fresh, rich in minerals, with the flavor of cedar and exotic fruit.
    To pair with: soups and risotto.
    Try: Friuli Colli Orientali Illivio Felluga (wine shop: € 22,00 bottle).

  4. Garganega (Veneto)

    This lovely Italian white wine, produced with local grapes, is a top expression of its land. The soil of volcanic origin, full of basalt, makes the grapes rich in minerals, and it gives an aromatic flavour to them.
    Color: typical straw-color.
    Taste: Full in salinity, the scent of peach, apple, chamomile, and stone. Very fresh.
    To pair with: pies, vegetarian meals, fried fish, chicken curry.
    Try: Soave Classico DOC Inama 2013 (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

  5. Vermentino (Liguria)

    This variety descends from the Spanish vines that you can find in Tuscany, Sardinia, Corsica, and Liguria, and it produces incredibly flavored wines.
    Taste: full body and alcohol, fruity and aromatic herbs scent, lightly almond aftertaste. Delicate notes with the prevalence of thymus, sage, Mediterranean scrub.
    To pair with: appetizers, fish, pasta.
    Try: Fosso di Corsano Vermentino Colli di Luni Terenzuola 2015 (wine shop: € 13,00).

  6. Verdicchio (Marche)

    This white wine is definitely one of the oldest Italian ones.
    Color: gold-green.
    Taste: typical intense almond aftertaste. Fresh and often very saline, it is balanced with good alcohol quantity that makes it smooth. Perfumes of herbs, grass, and fruit.
    To pair with: appetizers, fried specialties, roasted fish and first courses, turkey and white meat.
    Try: Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classsico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013 (wine shop: € 32,00).

  7. Ribolla Gialla (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

    This is an ancient variety of white wines that grow on hills.
    Taste: peach, pear, lavender, and herbs. Complex and elegant nose.
    To pair with: fish in any cooking style, appetizers, eggs, quiches, white meat with sauce.
    Try: Ribolla Gialla Damijan Podversic 2011 (wine shop: € 30,00 bottle).

  8. Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene (Veneto)

    Prosecco is a status symbol and a must to drink, perfect for the happy hour. When in Italy, you should try the one produced in Cartizze with the Italian method Martinotti/Charmat.
    Taste: dry wine with lively acidity. Inviting fragrance. Sweet acacia flowers and hazelnuts scent.
    To pair with: celebrating something.
    Try: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze Dry 2014 Bortomiol (wine shop: € 18,00 bottle).

  9. Grillo (Sicilia)

    This variety of Italian white wines is cultivated all over the Sicily, and it is important for the production of Marsala. Alone, Grillo is very elegant and generous, amazing if it is refined in wood.
    Taste: intense nose of candy citrus fruit. If vinified in purity and stainless steel, it becomes amazingly perfumed and tasty. The scent of delicate fruit and herbs. Amazing capacity for aging.
    To pair with: shellfishes, mussels, risotto with fish.
    Try: Il Grillo ‘14 Feudo Disisa (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

  10. Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Toscana)

    No Italian wine can boast a history that dates back centuries like Vernaccia di San Gimignano.Color: pale straw yellow with golden highlights that become more evident with age.
    Taste: perfume fine and delicate. Fruity and floral scents (when the wine is young); the mineral scent of flint (when it matures). It is a dry, harmonious and savory flavored wine. Amazing capacity for aging.
    To pair with: “ribollita” soup and all variants of this found throughout Tuscany; fish dishes; fried food and eggs; white meats and medium mature cheeses.
    Try: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Sanice Riserva 2012 (wine shop: € 12,00 bottle).

10 Italian red wines to try before you leave Italy

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.

  1. 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.
    Category: DOCG.
    Try: classic Campolongo di Torbe 2009 Masi (wine shop ave. price: € 98,00 bottle).

  2. 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.
    TryBarolo Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva 2009 (wine shop ave. price: € 85,00 bottle).

  3. Barbera (Piemonte)

    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.
    TryBarbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza 2012 Olim Bauda (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).

  4. 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).

  5. 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).

  6. 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).

  7. 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).

  8. Frappato (Sicilia)

    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).

  9. 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).

  10. Sagrantino (Umbria)

    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).