Bold and powerful, juicy and fresh, crisp and aromatic, earthy and dry, the wines of Italy deliver something for every palate. From the southern tip of the boot to the northern Italian Alps over 300 varieties of grapes grow, crafting wines with authenticity highlighting their Old World character. Each is unique, food-friendly, and flavorful, perfect for summertime toasting.
When we think of white wine from Italy, our mind often goes straight to Pinot Grigio. Though the country grows over 300 different wine varieties, Pinot Grigio is often the white wine we think of first. From the celebrated Tuscan producer, Castello Banfi, San Angelo Pinot Grigio Toscana IGT ($18) showcases the fresh vibrancy of the variety. Bright and crisp, layering golden citrus, white flowers, golden apple and peach, with subtle hints of soft herbs and tarragon with a fruit-forward yet dry palate.
Falanghina is an ancient variety grown north of Campania that is believed to be of Greek origin. It is right at home in the southern Italian region though as it has been grown in the area since the 7th century BC. A popular variety during the Roman times, it was not well cultivated in the region until recent years when it has been making comeback as winemakers appreciate the freshness the variety brings while melding with honey and blanched almond notes. From old vines grown on steep hillsides at roughly 1200 feet above the sea level, Villa Matilde Rocca dei Leoni Falanghina Campania IGT showcases these notes of citrus and honey, with touches of stone fruit, soft herb, and a clean, precise note of minerality thanks to the volcanic soils of the vineyard.
Another white variety that calls Campania home, which has been spread throughout Italy, is Fiano. When grown in the Campania region the grape exudes floral notes of lemon blossom, lime leaf, and chamomile. Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino ($30) showcases the varietal style playing on the freshness and lifting the golden fruit-filled palate with vibrant acidity. Golden pear, apricot, and honeysuckle linger on the mid-palate, finishing with a hint of smokiness and a focused line of crushed stone minerality. Very fresh and bright, perfect for summer sipping, especially paired with roasted chicken or grilled white fish.
Produced from Sicilian grown Nerello Mascalese, Patagonia Provisions Pistemutta Rosato ($39) is crafted with low intervention in the vineyard and winery, without the use of herbicides or pesticides, using native yeast fermentation, with minimal sulfites, i.e. it is a natural wine. The goal is to have the fruit showcase the most authentic representation of the land, revealing layers of wildflowers and ripe red berries. The red fruit is the apparent, but the savory, smokey, earthy qualities of the wine, thanks to the volcanic soils of Sicily shine through the aromas and flavors of the wine, creating a mineral-driven, focused, savory, and gastronomic wine.
It is thought that there has been wine produced at Badia a Coltibuono since 1051 when St. Giovanni Gualberto founded the Vallombrosan Order of Benedictine monks in the Tuscan region of Chianti. The Stucchi Prinetti family purchased the abbey in 1846, and today farms the historic vineyard using organic and sustainable methods, producing world-class, traditional Sangiovese-based wines from heritage clone vines. Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($22) reveals gorgeous mouth-watering acidity, making it an ideal partner to pair with your favorite pasta with tomato sauce dishes. Blackberry, red plum, and cherry flavors mingle with a nice earthy note of wet leaves, dried herbs, and mushrooms.
Carmignano is one of the smallest DOCG regions within Italy. A sub-region of Tuscany, it was one of the first protected wine-producing regions in Italy, dating back to the early 1700s. Though Sangiovese is the star of the region, a nice bit of Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced as Catherine de Medici had sent cuttings from Bordeaux to the region in the 1500s. Tenuta di Capezzana Villa di Capezzana Carmignano ($30) reveals a blend of 80% Sangiovese with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon creating the perfect marriage of freshness with structure, with nicely balanced acidity and rustic tannins. Layers of black and blue fruit meld with red berries, with toasted nuttiness, dried tobacco, and espresso.