Whether you’re a sommelier or just someone who enjoys great wines, a wine tour of Italy is the experience of a lifetime. Not only will you get to enjoy the Italian countryside, but you’ll visit the best vineyards Italy has to offer. As you plan on where you want to go for your wine tour, consider the following places.
The Veneto wine region covers the area of northeastern Italy. It’s one of the most productive wine regions. The Alps help to protect the area from harsh weather, and the cooler area fits well with white grape varieties such as Garganega. The coastal plains near the Adriatic produce mostly red grape varieties that include Bardolino, Amarone, and Valpolicella. Before heading to Veneto, don’t forget to search for cheap hotels in Venice. There are definitely a lot of options.
Grown in the areas of Friuli, Istria, and Trentino, Refosco is a dark-skinned red grape variety that produces a wine that is a deep violet color. With a slight bitterness, the wine has a strong wild berry and plum flavor to it. After a period of about 10 years, the floral overtones add to the flavor as well.
Formally known as Prosecco (which is derived from the village of the same name located near Trieste), Glera grapes are a neutral variety that is often used for sparkling Italian wines. This variety of grapes is grown in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene areas of Veneto.
Amarone is a dry red wine that consists of a blend of grape varieties including Corvina and Rondinella, as well as others. This low acidic wine is full-bodied with a very ripe, raisiny flavor. It’s a premium wine that takes longer to reach its full potential, typically not being released till at least five years after its vintage.
Famous for its wine and olive oil, Tuscany is a must-visit for lovers of wine. When heading to Tuscany, it’s best to choose which region in Tuscany you would like to focus your tours on. If you need a place to stay in Tuscany, consider the B&B Stella Del Germano, which is reasonably priced and well-rated by past visitors.
Two wine areas within the Tuscany wine region are the Chianti and Chianti Classico areas. Chianti Classico wines are typically medium-bodied wines with firm tannins that have an acidity that ranges from medium high to high. Chianti wine is a dry red wine that has been around since the 13th century. It’s primarily made from Sangiovese and Canaiolo red grapes and Trebbiano and Malvasia white grapes.
Super Tuscans are typically based on a Bordeaux-blend, which is a combination of grapes that include Cabernet, Sauvignon, and Merlot. Though these grapes aren’t native to this region of Italy, the climate in Tuscany is perfect for growing these types of grapes, and they’ve done very well here.
Considered a superior area of Italy for quality wines since the Middle Ages, this region is located about 10 miles northwest of Florence. Traditionally, wines from Carmignano blend Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Because of the low altitude of this region, these wines have more pronounced tannins with a lower acidity than some other Tuscan wines, including Chianti Classico.
Located along the east coast of Italy, the portion that forms the heel of the Italian “boot” peninsula, the Puglia region produces strong bodied wines that will enhance any meal. Stay in Salento’s capital city, Lecce, or closer to the coast in Otranto.
This is a black-skinned grape that grows in the areas Gioia del Colle, Primitivo di Manduria, and Falerno Primitivo. Wines made from Primitivo grapes are rustic and highly alcoholic. In the past, harvests from this grape were often sent up to Tuscany and Piedmont regions to be blended with other grapes to enhance thin red wines produced in those areas. Now you can find wines that are 100 percent Primitivo.
Grown almost exclusively in Apulia, this red grape produces some of the best wines, creating a rustic character with an earthy bitterness. Because it’s drought resistant, it does very well in Puglia’s hot summers.
This region is located in northwest Italy and is best known for wines from Barolo and Baresco that use the Nebbiolo grape. Other grapes that grow in this region include Barbera, Dolcetto, Moscato, and Cortese. Before heading to Piemonte, consider booking an all-day tour and then staying the night in Turin, Italy.
Nebbiolo produces light-colored red wines. These can have a high tannic content while the grapes are young with scents of roses, but as they age, they produce an orange color and mature into other scents that include blackberries, licorice, prunes, truffles, and herbs. When produced correctly, the firm tannins result in a full-bodied wine. Because of its welcome acidity, it pairs well with food producing beautiful sauces.
This variety of wine grape is the third most planted red grape in Italy. Barbera grapes are known for their deep color with high levels of acid and low tannins. The lightest versions of these wines, using the younger grape, have a very fruity flavor with notes of blueberries, raspberries, and cherries. To add complexity to the wine, producers will toast the oak barrels over a fire, creating hints of vanilla and other complex flavors.
Translated to mean “little sweet one,” the Dolcetto grape is a black grape variety that has moderate to low acidity levels. Despite its name, it produces a very dry wine that has a bitter finish. It can produce a lot of tannins in the wine along with fruity notes that include black cherry, prunes, and licorice.
With so many grape varieties and wines to try, you could spend your entire Italian getaway at vineyards. However, if you choose to only visit one of these wine regions, consider taking the tour toward the beginning of your trip. Any wines you purchase through the tour will be at a discount, and then you can spend the rest of the trip enjoying your newfound treasures. Have you visited vineyards in Italy? Leave a comment below telling us about your experience, or just about your favorite Italian wines.