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10 Red Wines of Italy You Need to Try ASAP for an Epic Wine-Tasting Experience

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10 Italian Red Wines with Food Pairing

Here is a list of Italy’s 10 most popular red wines, including recommendations for pairing red wines with Italian food.

Red wines of Italy are among some of the finest and most sought-after wines in the world. From the bold, robust flavors of Chianti to the velvety smoothness of Montepulciano, Italy offers a variety of red wines that will please all palates.

1Chianti

Chianti is a wine produced in the Tuscany region of central Italy. It is made from a blend of grapes, with the main varieties being Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The taste of Chianti can vary, but it is generally described as having fruity and floral notes, with a slightly tannic structure and a medium to full body.

What Italian foods does Chianti pair well with? Chianti pairs well with various foods, particularly acidity or richness, to balance out the wine’s tannins.

Some great food pairings for Chianti include:

  • Tomato-based pasta dishes, such as spaghetti alla carbonara or spaghetti alla puttanesca
  • Grilled meats, such as steak or lamb chops
  • Poultry dishes, such as roast chicken or turkey
  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as parmesan or pecorino romano
  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as risotto ai funghi or grilled portobello mushrooms

Overall, Chianti is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed with a wide range of dishes, from simple pasta and tomato sauce to more complex and flavorful dishes.

2Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola is a red wine that is produced in the Sicily region of Italy. It is made from the Nero d’Avola grape variety, known for its deep color and bold flavors.

The taste of Nero d’Avola wine can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage. Still, it is generally described as having rich, ripe fruit flavors with notes of cherries, plums, and blackberries. It may also have hints of spices, such as black pepper or cloves, and may have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

What Italian foods does Nero d’Avola pair well with? Nero d’Avola pairs well with a variety of Italian foods, particularly those with bold, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Nero d’Avola include:

  • Grilled or roasted meats, such as steak, lamb, or pork
  • Hearty stews or braises, such as ragù or osso buco
  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as pecorino or parmesan
  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as grilled portobello mushrooms
  • Rich pasta dishes, such as spaghetti alla carbonara

Overall, Nero d’Avola is a full-bodied wine with bold flavors that can hold its own against rich, flavorful dishes.

3Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a red wine that is produced in the central and eastern regions of Italy, including the Marche, Abruzzo, and Molise regions. It is made from the Montepulciano grape variety, known for its deep color and bold flavors.

The taste of Montepulciano wine can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage. Still, it is generally described as having ripe, fruity flavors with notes of cherries, plums, and blackberries. It may also have hints of spices, such as black pepper or cloves, and may have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

What Italian foods does Montepulciano pair well with? Montepulciano pairs well with a variety of Italian foods, particularly those with bold, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Montepulciano include:

  • Grilled or roasted meats, such as steak, lamb, or pork
  • Hearty stews or braises, such as ragù or osso buco
  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as pecorino or parmesan
  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as risotto with mushrooms (risotto ai funghi)
  • Pasta dishes, such as spaghetti alla carbonara or spaghetti alla puttanesca

When it comes to pairing red wines with Italian foods, Montepulciano is a great choice, as it is a full-bodied wine with bold flavors that can hold its own against rich, flavorful dishes.

4Amarone

Amarone is a red wine produced in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. It is made from a blend of grapes, with the main varieties being Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Amarone is made using a unique production method known as “appassimento,” in which the grapes are dried for several months before being crushed and fermented.

The taste of Amarone can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage. Still, it is generally described as having rich, bold flavors with notes of dried fruit, spices, and chocolate. It may also have a slightly tannic or earthy finish, and may have a high alcohol content.

What Italian foods does Amarone pair well with? Amarone pairs well with a variety of Italian foods, particularly those with rich, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Amarone include:

  • Hearty stews or braises, such as ragù or osso buco
  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as risotto ai funghi
  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as pecorino or parmesan

5Barolo

Barolo is a red wine produced in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape variety, known for its deep color and complex flavors. Barolo is considered one of Italy’s finest wines and is often aged for several years before being released for sale.

The taste of Barolo can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage, but it is generally described as having rich, full-bodied flavors with notes of red and black fruit, spices, and flowers. It may also have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

What Italian foods does Barolo pair well with? Barolo pairs well with a variety of Italian foods, particularly those with rich, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Barolo include:

  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as grilled portobello mushrooms
  • Game meats, such as wild boar, venison, and wild rabbit.
  • Rich pasta dishes, such as spaghetti alla carbonara or spaghetti alla puttanesca

6Valpolicella

Valpolicella is a red wine produced in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. It is made from a blend of grapes, with the main varieties being Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Valpolicella is made using a particular production method known as “appassimento,” in which the grapes are partially dried before being crushed and fermented.

The taste of Valpolicella can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage. Still, it is generally described as having medium to full-bodied flavors, with notes of red and black fruit, such as cherries and plums. It may also have hints of spices, such as black pepper or cloves, and may have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

What Italian foods does Valpolicella pair well with? Valpolicella pairs well with a variety of Italian foods, particularly those with lighter flavors or a bit of acidity, to balance out the wine’s tannins.

Some great food pairings for Valpolicella include:

  • Grilled or roasted poultry, such as chicken or turkey
  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as pecorino romano
  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as risotto ai funghi
  • Tomato-based pasta dishes
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables, such as eggplant or bell peppers

Valpolicella is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed with a wide range of Italian dishes, from simple pasta and tomato sauce to more complex and flavorful dishes. It’s an excellent choice to pair red wines with Italian foods.

7Primitivo

Primitivo is a red wine produced in southeastern Italy’s Puglia region. It is made from the Primitivo grape variety, known for its deep color and bold flavors.

The taste of Primitivo can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage, but it is generally described as having ripe, fruity flavors, with notes of cherries, plums, and blackberries. It may also have hints of spices, such as black pepper or cloves, and may have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

What Italian foods does Primitivo pair well with? Primitivo pairs well with various Italian foods, particularly those with bold, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Primitivo include:

  • Grilled meats
  • Hard cheeses
  • Tomato-based sauces

8Lambrusco

Lambrusco is a red wine that is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is made from a blend of grapes, with the main varieties being Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, and Lambrusco Salamino. Lambrusco is known for its light, fruity, and slightly sparkling nature.

The taste of Lambrusco can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage, but it is generally described as having a light to medium body with bright, fruity flavors of cherries, raspberries, and blackberries. It may also have a slightly sweet or off-dry finish, and may have a moderate level of acidity.

What Italian foods does Lambrusco pair well with? Lambrusco pairs well with various Italian foods, particularly those with light or refreshing flavors.

Let’s see some pairing ideas for this red wine with Italian food:

  • Light appetizers, such as antipasti or charcuterie
  • Poultry dishes, such as roast chicken or turkey
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables, such as eggplant or bell peppers
  • Pizza and other casual Italian fares
  • Mild, creamy cheeses, such as mozzarella or brie

Overall, Lambrusco is a light, fruity wine that is well-suited for casual, informal occasions.

9Sangiovese

Sangiovese is a red wine that is produced in various regions of Italy, including Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche. It is made from the Sangiovese grape variety, known for its bright, fruity flavors and medium to high acidity.

The taste of Sangiovese can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage, but it is generally described as having medium to full-bodied flavors, with notes of red and black fruit, such as cherries and plums. It may also have hints of spices, such as black pepper or cloves, and may have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

Sangiovese pairs well with various Italian foods, particularly those with bold, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Sangiovese include:

  • Grilled or roasted meats, such as steak, lamb, or pork
  • Hearty stews or braises, such as ragù or osso buco
  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as pecorino or parmesan
  • Tomato-based pasta dishes, such as spaghetti alla puttanesca

Overall, Sangiovese is a full-bodied wine with bold flavors that can hold its own against rich, flavorful dishes. It is an excellent choice for pairing with a wide range of Italian cuisine.

10Primitivo di Manduria

Primitivo di Manduria is a red wine produced in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. It is made from the Primitivo grape variety, which is known for its deep color and bold flavors. Primitivo di Manduria is a DOC wine, meaning it must be produced according to specific regulations to carry the name.

The taste of Primitivo di Manduria can vary depending on the specific producer and vintage, but it is generally described as having ripe, fruity flavors, with notes of cherries, plums, and blackberries. It may also have hints of spices, such as black pepper or cloves, and may have a slightly tannic or earthy finish.

Primitivo di Manduria pairs well with various Italian foods, particularly those with bold, savory flavors.

Some great food pairings for Primitivo di Manduria include:

  • Hard, aged cheeses, such as pecorino or parmesan
  • Grilled or roasted meats, such as steak, lamb, or pork
  • Hearty stews or braises, such as ragù or osso buco
  • Mushroom-based dishes, such as risotto with portobello mushrooms

Overall, Primitivo di Manduria is a full-bodied wine with bold flavors that can hold its own against rich, flavorful dishes.

Also read: Become a Master Italian Chef with These Top 10 Italian Cookbooks.

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