Top Wines of Italy
Cà del Bosco Franciacorta Annamaria Clementi
This wine from Northern Italy is full-bodied with notes of citrus and a refreshing finish—perfect for an Italian-style special occasion dinner. “It’s often compared to the French Dom Perignon,” Reitano says.
Pair with: Parma ham or spaghetti carbonara
Buy online: $65.19; www.selectliquors.com
Villa Raiano Fiano di Avellino
Italy’s Campania region isn’t only famous for its gulfs and the gastronomic town of Naples. It’s also known for the strong-flavored white Fiano grape, which is grown almost exclusively in Southern Italy. “This 100% Fiano from the southern Campania region is dry, refreshing, and mineral, with apple and walnut flavors,” describes Reitano.
Pair with: Mushroom risotto
Buy online: $203.88 per case; www.grandwinecellar.com
Venica Ronco delle Cime
Closely related to a sauvignon blanc, the Friulano grape is one of the oldest vines in Italy’s northern Fruili region. (It also goes by the name Sauvignonasse and Sauvignon Vert.) Dry and fruity with an herbal finish.
Pair with: Sea bass carpaccio or sautéed clams
Buy online: $30.50; www.tcwc.com
Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca
If you’re browsing your local shop for a bottle on this list, look for this common label. “With exotic flavors and a rich body, this is among the most long-aging Italian white wines,” Reitano says. It’s pressed from 100% garganega grapes, local from the Veneto region.
Pair with: Grilled lobster or scallops salad
Buy online: $42.22; buy.com
Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino
It’s only appropriate that this wine from old vines is “probably the most long aging Italian red wine,” according to Reitano. Monfortino is a classic Barolo-style wine—designed to be aged in casks for many years and made with native Italian nebbiolo grapes. What’s the payoff of patience (and the hefty price tag)? A deep, mineral flavor with wildberry and spices.
Pair with: White truffle ravioli or grilled lamb
Buy online: $399; www.amantivino.com
“From the world-famous Gaja winery comes a classical bodied nebbiolo—rich and mineral, with a balsamic finish,” Reitano says. Translation: It’s a wine that’ll put hair on your chest.
Pair with: Roasted duck
Buy online: $95.49 per case; www.cabriniwines.com
Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella
For the classic wine and cheese pairing, offer up this traditional red. The cherry fruit and a spicy tobacco finish complement any strong Italian cheese like Parmesan or pecorino.
Buy online: $51.95; www.budgetbottle.com
Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio all’Oro
As every beginning student of wine knows, every vintage has its own characteristics. So what’s a vintner to do when certain year’s weather doesn’t cooperate? They don’t sell it. That’s why you’ll only see this available in specific vintages—and why you can trust that any bottle will be of the highest quality. The taste: “Power and balance with a lot of fruit and soft tannins.”
Pair with: T-bone steak
Buy online: $109.99; www.jjbuckley.com
Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryè
If you like sweet wines, try this sugar-rich red from the small island of Pantelleria in Sicily. “The wine has a dense body with lots of dry fruit flavors,” Reitano describes.
Pair with: Cannoli
Buy online: $44.99; www.gramercywinecellars.com
Incisa della Rocchetta Sassicaia
Reitano calls this Bordeaux-style blend from the coast of Tuscany “the king of Italian wines.” It’s known as a Super Tuscan wine—a Chianti-style wine that didn’t technically meet Italy’s strict regulations to be officially labelled as Chianti.
Pair with: Baked pigeon, chicken, or game hen
Buy it: Available at specialty wine shops for around $80/bottle