We have vacationed multiple times in Italy and always sample their magnificent wines.   When at home they are some of our top picks.  From Southern to Northern Italy, we have our favorites and wanted to share them with you.


  • Barolo – a high-tannin, age-worthy red wine made in Piedmont. It is produced with 100 percent nebbiolo grapes grown in specific zones near Alba. They must spend at least a year in oak and then three years aging in the bottle.  As a Barolo ages, its tannins become silky with complex aromas of dried rose and violet, of leather and truffle and tar, and deep cherry and plum flavors emerge. The finish lasts forever.  It’s a wine to meditate, brood and ponder over.  Called the “king of wines” it is particularly expensive, with average cost of around $60-90 and many going much higher.  The first four wines are good quality at a lower price.
    • Massolino
    • Mauro Veglio
    • Guiseppe Mascarello
    • Cascina Adelaide Langhe Nebbiolo
    • Bartolo Marcarello
    • Bruno Glacosa
    • Giuseppe Rinaldi
    • Giacomo Borgogno
    • Giacomo Conterno
    • Bovio Vigna Gattera
    • Vietti Rocche
    • Conterno Casina Francia
    • Mascarello Monprivato
    • Bruno Giacosa Falletto
    • Vietti
  • Barbaresco – also produced with the same 100% nebbiolo grapes, but has a shorter aging process than Barolo. Less expensive but still not everyday drinking wine.
    • Produttori del Barbaresco
    • Cascina Delle Rose
    • Rattalino
    • Fiorenzo Nada
    • Rizzi
    • Marchesi di Gresy
    • Moccagatta
  • Nebbiolo d’Alba and Langhe Nebbiolo (affordable nebbiolo’s) – Nebbiolo d’Alba is made from the same grapes as Barolo and Barbaresco, just aged less. The grapes are from a wider area and aren’t as complex as Barolo.  They are lighter, fresher and wonderfully enjoyable.  Should cost around $20-25 a bottle.
    • Pio Cesare
    • Renato
    • Bruno Giacosa
    • Massolino
    • Sottimano
    • Vietti Perbacco
    • Produttori
    • Guido Porro


  • Brunello di Montalicino – my personal favorite. Has moderate tannins, and also an age-worthy red wine made in Tuscany of 100% Sangiovese grapes.  Brunello’s grapes are a superior clone of Sangiovese known as Sangiovese Grosso that produces fuller, richer berries. It is the only Tuscan red wine that is not a blend.  Brunello is much darker in color than Barolo, and is at first juicy and spicy, with herbaceous notes of oregano, and balsamic that lead into flavors of cherry and leather. With time, Brunello softens out and becomes pale and brick red with aromas of fig, carob, sweet tobacco and espresso. Average cost around $40-65.
    • Il Palazzone
    • Rasa Raia
    • Biondi Santi
    • Pian Dell’Orino
    • Castello Romitorio
    • Fonterenza
    • Collemattoni
    • Uccelliera
    • Sesti – Castello Di Argiano
    • Cupano
    • Valdicava
    • Cerbaiona
    • Soldera
  • Rosso di Montalcino – these wines are also made from the Sangiovese grapes but unlike Brunellos, they are not required to be aged more than a year, so it sees less oak, is less tannic, lighter, fruiter, and drinks well upon release. Hence, they are less structured than Brunellos, and simpler, but offer great values.  It’s easy to find Rosso di Montalcino in the $20 to $30 range.
    • Most of the vineyard above
  • Super Tuscan – In the 1970s, some Tuscan producers came to believe that the legal rules governing the production of Chianti were too restrictive, and they wanted to make wine outside of the allowed Chianti zone. They coined the term “super Tuscan” to distinguish their wines from the inexpensive, low-quality wines that were associated with the term “table wine” (that they were forced to put on the label). Today, most super Tuscans use the legal appellation of IGT, which gives producers more flexibility than Chianti and other Tuscan DOCs and more prestige than “table wine” (vino da tavola). The wines tend to be modern, big and rich—and often carry a price tag of $100 or more a bottle. Some super Tuscans do contain Sangiovese, either 100 percent or in blends. But others are made solely from Merlot, from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, or from even more unusual blends, like an amalgamation of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Worth the splurge!
    • Tignanello
    • Sassicaia
    • Solaia
    • Ornellaia
    • Masseto
    • Messorio
    • Redigaffi
    • Vigorello


  • Amarone – No Italian wine is more distinctive and few are as precious. That is due to the time, the labor and the materials required to craft every bottle. The dedication on the part of these winemakers is considerable because of the difficulties in crafting Amarone and the manual labor that is involved. Clusters of three grapes go into the Amarone blend, traditionally Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, they aren’t harvested all at once, in the traditional sense—they’re selected cluster by cluster, and clipped from the vine over a span of time. Multiple passes are made in the vineyard, during which sub- standard berries are plucked away one at a time. Healthy clusters are sometimes cut into two or three pieces to favor the flow of air in and around each berry and are laid to rest on wicker shelves in special drying chambers for the next four or five months. The finished product’s alcohol content is typically 15 percent or higher, with intense aromatics that range from resin and dried prunes to cherry cola. On the palate it is rich and powerful but balanced, with flavors that can range from dark fruits like berry, cherry and plum to licorice, coffee and chocolate.
    • Zenato
    • Buglioni
    • Serego Allegrini
    • Bertani
    • Cesari
    • Masi
    • Montezoro
    • Tenuta Sant’Antonio
    • Tommasi

Wine toast in bar

“When wine enlivens the heart may friendship surround the table.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Alla tua salute! (To your health!)
Cin cin!  (All things good for you!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s