Basil & Grape’s Top 6 Italian Wine Regions
What is the one thing that is just as good as Italian food? Italian wine! Both play a huge role in defining Italy’s culture and identity, so it’s no revelation that we love combining the two to uncover a true taste of Italy.
Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world due to the environment and climate being perfect for various different grapes to naturally flourish. Italian wine has been produced for over 4,000 years, with knowledge and expertise passed through Italy for generations.
Picturesque vineyards are found through the entirety of Italy and many regions are famous for their unique indigenous grapes and distinctive flavours. This post focuses on some of the best regions to look out for when searching for delicious world famous Italian wine.
Sicily is the mediterranean’s largest island – located west of the very southern tip of Italy. Sicilian wine roots travel way back to the 17th century, as legend suggests grape vines covered the land before it was inhabited. Since then, Sicily’s wine has been influenced by various different cultures including the original Sicinians, the Romans and the Greeks.
Naturally, Sicily has grown to be one of the most exciting wine regions in Europe as it is favoured with glorious sunshine, diverse terroirs and unique indiginous grapes. The region now has the most vineyards throughout the whole of Italy, exporting abundances of both white and red wine. The most famous wine to come from Sicily is ‘Marsala’, which is produced from a combination of Grillo, Catarratto or Inzolia grapes. Basil and Grape are proud to offer a form of delicious Grillo Italian wine in ‘Tenuta Rapitala Grillo’ here in Croydon.
Recommended Sicilian White Wine:
- Montepietroso Bianco (round and fruity, medium bodied, floral and very refreshing)
- Tenuta Rapitala Grillo (round and fruity, refreshing yet complex, notes of lemon zest and honey)
Recommended Sicilian Red Wine:
- Montepietroso Nero D’Avola (light, fresh and fruity with flavours of raspberry and violet, fresh and easy drinking)
- Montepietroso Syrah (rich and intense, scent of violets and cherries, light and fresh on the palate)
- Gulfi Cerasuolo di Vittoria (full and complex, organic, ripe and tasty with layers of cherry and mediterranean herbs)
This region is home to Venice, Italy’s water-side romance capital, which attracts millions of tourists from all ends of the globe. Veneto has been home to viticulture since the Bronze Age with over 3000 years of wine making experience. Today it is known as one of the largest Italian wine producers, containing over 220,000 acres of vineyards.
Various different Italian wines are produced in Veneto as it’s a large region with diverse climates depending on location. For example, northern Veneto is protected from the harsh European climate by the Alps – where cooler temperatures are perfect for white grape varieties such as Garganega. In contrast, the warmer coastal areas, river valleys and lake zones are more suitable for various DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) reds such as Valpolicella and Amarone. Eastern Veneto is also home to the hugely popular Prosecco.
Recommended Veneto White Wine:
- Pinot Grigio Savian Bio (VEGAN) (fresh and crisp, slightly fruity, light note of almond)
Recommended Veneto Rose:
- Lamberti Rose dell’ Estate IGT delle Venezie (dry and light bodied, peach and white melon notes)
- Bardolino Chiaretto (medium bodied with flower notes and dry fruits)
Recommended Veneto Red Wine:
- Valpolicella Nanfre Superiore (light and fruity, full bodied with intense notes of blackcurrant, blackberry and light oak)
This region is located in the northwestern corner of Italy, with Switzerland to the north and France to the west. The name Piedmont translates to ‘at the foot and the mountain’ as this region is also dominated by the Alps’ landscape. This area is labelled the ‘burgundy of Italy’ due to being famous for boutique wines and outstanding gastronomy. The majority of winemaking is conducted in the south of the region, with small towns like Alba and Asti in the very heart of the viticulture.
Piedmont offers a unique climate due to the mix of air from the alps and the meditteranean sea. This creates a dense layer of fog that helps ripen rich and bold grapes that are then transformed into some of Italy’s finest wine. The region produces some of the world’s most famous red wines, including varieties such as Barolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto.
Here at Basil and Grape in Croydon, we are proud to offer a fruity Barolo red wine that uses Lampia and Michet forms of Nebbiolo grapes to create a unique and spicy complex taste.
Recommended Piedmont White Wine:
- Tenimenti Ca Bianca Gavi DOCG 2017 (mineral and complex, white flower and green fruity aromas with a touch of honey)
Recommended Piedmont Red Wine:
- Barolo Ca’ Bianca (full and complex, full bodied with flavours of cherry, plum, blackberry and spices)
Umbria is a small region of rolling hills with traditional hilltop villages and historic towns that are amazing on the eye. The region is in a central location, known as Italy’s ‘green heart’, based between Lazio, Marche and Tuscany. This area is the only Italian region without coastline or an international border, and is best known for the production of white wine, with the majority of vineyards on terraces embedded into the hillsides.
Historically, the most famous wine to emerge from Umbria is ‘Orvieto’, a semi-sweet white wine that is complex with hints of fruit and flowers. This has been produced for over 2,000 years, and has evolved into a crisp wine that is popular across the globe. Basil and Grape’s wine bar are delighted to offer a beautiful form of Orvieto on our carefully selected wine list.
Recommended Umbria White Wine:
- Bigi Strozzavolpe Grechetto (fresh and crisp, yellow with golden hues, subtle and stylish with distinctive notes of apricot and tropical fruit)
- Bigi Vigneto Torricella Orvieto Classico (mineral and complex, dry, long and crisp taste of lemon blossom, musk, flowers and exotic fruit)
Campania is located on the shin of Italy’s ‘boot’ and has links to wine that date back to the 12th century. This makes Campania one of Italy’s oldest and wisest viticulture regions, but today it makes up a small 3.3% of total vineyards. The area is known for producing a wide range of grape varieties, some of which are rarely found anywhere else on Earth.
Wine production is popular across Campania due to the dry hot summers, mild winters and long growing seasons. The grapes grow with an acidy taste due to the coastal breeze grazing the vines and mitigating heat. The most common grape within this region is the ‘Aglianico’, known for producing powerful and hypnotic red wines. The coastal region is also famous for producing light, crisp and refreshing white wines through the use of Fiano, Greco and Falanghina grapes. We would recommend different wines with different Italian food, for example ‘Villa Ottavia Aglianico del Beneventano’ with red meat for the perfect combination.
Recommended Campania White Wine:
- Villa Ottavia Falanghina Del Beneventano (fresh and crisp, medium bodied and well balanced with notes of pear and almond)
Recommended Campania Red Wine:
- Villa Ottavia Aglianico del Beneventano (light and fruity, medium bodied with red fruit and spices leaving a fresh finish)
Apulia, known as Puglia in Italian, is a long and narrow wine region on the ‘heel’ of the Italian boot that faces towards the Adriatic Sea. This region is the current largest producer of wine across Italy, contributing 17% of the national total. The northern area of the region is temperate and cool whereas the south offers a warm and dry mediterranean climate.
The southern area is especially effective for viticulture due to the warm air and fertile soil. Cool breezes sweep from the Meditteranean on all three sides of Apulia making it the perfect location for vineyards.
Most Puglia wine is red, full bodied and pairs well with most Italian food. Significant red grapes cultivated in the region are the Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Uva di Troia. The most common is the earthy and rustic Negroamaro grape that offers a spicy and fruity taste – both this and the Primitivo grape are available at the Basil and Grape wine bar.
Recommended Apulia Red Wine:
- Feudo Monaci Primivito (light and fruity, medium bodied, round wine bursting with fruity flavours)
- Feudo Monaci Salice Salentino (rich and intense, medium bodied, velvety and warm, complex whilst delicate and elegant)
- Felline Pietraluna Negramaro (full and complex, medium bodied, spicy rose with with cherry and raspberry, nice soft finish)
PLEASE NOTE: All Italian white wine and Italian red wine recommended within this blog are readily available at Basil and Grape Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, Croydon. We also offer several wine tasting experiences that send your taste buds on a journey across Italy’s famous wine regions. Also from areas such as Tuscany.