Food & Wine Wine Culture

14 Best Italian Red Wines

The best approach to get a handle on Italian red wines is to simply start drinking them. Italy provides the ideal red wine for every scenario, from pizza Monday through Sunday roast beef with the in-laws, and everything in between.

The name of a country’s wine appellation, often together with the grape variety, is used on many of Italy’s greatest red wines. If you’ve ever had difficulties making selections in an Italian wine section because you don’t know many wine names, knowing just a few essential ones can help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the ideal


1. Barolo & Barbaresco

Piedmont’s Barolo is undoubtedly the queen of Italian red wines. The Nebbiolo grapes used to produce these little region’s wines are among the world’s oldest. Whether kept for the next year, five years, ten, or twenty years, this is one Italian red that demonstrates the advantages of aging wine.

Barbaresco is Barolo’s superior, a Piedmontese wine made with Nebbiolo that is the queen to Barolo’s king. The wines of Barbaresco are well-known for their finesse and aroma.

2. Brunello

The king of wines produced from Sangiovese is Brunello di Montalcino. This Tuscan red wine gets its moniker from the Sangiovese local name (Brunello) and Montalcino, a little medieval hill town with views over the Tuscany countryside. These are rich, complex wines with tremendous aging potential.

3. Amarone

Amarone is a powerful and concentrated dry red wine produced in Italy’s Veneto region with dried grapes. Amarone, which is made from native Italian grapes, dazzles and amazes.


4. Chianti

Chiantis are the classic red wine of Italy and one of the most food-friendly wines in the world. Produced in Tuscany, it is typically made with Sangiovese grapes, although other approved varieties may be used in its production. Chianti wines are dry, medium-bodied, and redolent of cherries and spices.

5. Morellino di Scansano

A Tuscan wine made from Sangiovese grapes that is fruity and easy to drink. Morellino di Scansano is a great example of an Italian red wine that is both delicious and affordable.

6. Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola is a versatile Sicilian red wine that can range from light and fruity to rich and full-bodied. This wine is made with the Nero d’Avola grape, which is also known as Calabrese. Nero d’Avola wines are food-friendly and pair well with a variety of dishes.

7. Valpolicella

A light and fruity red wine from the Veneto region of Italy. Valpolicella is made with a blend of native Italian grapes, including Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. This wine is refreshing and easy to drink, making it a great choice for casual gatherings.


8. Gattinara

Gattinara is a delicious, sometimes-overlooked Nebbiolo-based wine from Piedmont. These are the wines to drink while waiting for Barolo and Barbaresco to mature, especially if you’re serving them with stews and braises.

9. Rosso di Montalcino

Rosso di Montalcino is often referred to as “baby Brunello.” This wine is produced from Sangiovese grown in the same region, and it is released to market the following year after harvest, whereas Brunello stays locked up in the cellars of producers.

10. Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico is a Chianti produced in the historic, traditional area of the region. These wines are comparable to Chianti but with slightly tighter production standards.


11. Barbera d’Asti

Barbera is a high-quality Italian red grape that produces wonderful wines with a crisp acidity and smooth tannin. These beautiful red wines from Piedmont are popular social gatherings.

12. Dolcetto d’Alba

Another Piedmont red wine is Dolcetto, which has more distinct tannin than Barbera but less than Nebbiolo. Wines from Dolcetto find a nice balance, with more obvious tannins than Barbera but not quite as much as Nebbiolo.


13. Lambrusco

Ask your local wine merchant to suggest a dry Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna for your next antipasti. These crimson wines are wonderful on a hot summer day since they’re slightly fizzy and have a nice bitterness to them.

14. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Montepulciano is Abruzzo’s answer to Piedmont’s Barbera, displaying juicy, grapey tastes with soft, supple tannin. This is Italy’s ultimate pizza wine because it features juicy, flavorful qualities with soft, pliable tannins. The grape Montepulciano should not be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is a Sangiovese-based wine produced in the nearby village of Montepulciano.


Whether you’re looking for a bottle of everyday drinking wine or something special for a special occasion, Italian red wines offer something for everyone. With so many delicious options to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect wine to suit your taste. So grab a bottle of your favorite Italian red and enjoy!

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