Introduction

By Paul Caputo

Where does one start when contemplating the ins and outs of a concise guide to Italian wine? I mean there are over 300 grape varieties, over 500 recognised appellations of origin and countless other quirks of tradition and style. So much to say and yet so much that couldn’t possibly.

Well clearly you can’t ignore Barolo, ‘Wine of Kings and King of Wines’, the infamous Piemonte red made from 100% Nebbiolo. Harsh and tannic in youth, but ethereal and seductive with maturity; ‘Tar and Roses’ the phrase often heard to describe the wine’s beguiling perfumes. If you only drink one more wine before transcending this world, make sure it is Barolo.

What about Amarone? In the Northeast’s Veneto region, dried Corvina, Rondinella and Mollinara grapes are pressed into a luxurious and hedonistic red, whose layered dark fruits don’t come without a powerful blast of alcohol. You have been warned.

Regions of Italy

Abruzzo

Central Italian region famed for good value red from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and white wines from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, as well as a growing focus on local varieties such as Pecorino and Passerina.

Read more ▸ 16 appellations 15 producers 8 wines

Basilicata

Small region in the south of Italy known predominantly for Aglianico del Vulture DOC.

Read more ▸ 2 appellations 16 producers 19 wines

Calabria

Covering the toe of Italy, Calabria has long been considered the country’s undeveloped wine region but in recent years a new generation has given rise to vibrant scene of quality focussed independent winemakers.

Read more ▸ 10 appellations 8 producers 9 wines

Campania

Home to some of Italy’s most improved wines, Campania delivers a treasure trove of established growing areas such as Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino and Taurasi, as well as boasting a dynamic scene of boutique producers from Campi Flegrei, Sannio and Irpinia.

Read more ▸ 23 appellations 30 producers 53 wines