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The 12 Wines of Italy

Italy, with its unique geography, diverse landscapes, predictable weather and lush farmlands, is a veritable haven for viniculture making it a perfect place to make fine wine.

The entire country is peppered from North to South with winemaking regions and terroirs each as unique and robust as the last.

 From the northern regions that produce some of the best Pinot Grigio in the world, to the Island of Sardinia and their unique Grenache variations, we take you on-tour through Italy as we explore this land one glass of wine at a time. You’ll learn some new regions, try some new wines and find the perfect bottle, to sip, share and gift. 

 REGION 1: Alto Adige 

Known around the world as the best producer of Pinot Grigio, vineyards in this region creep up the sides of glacial valleys in horizontal rows. The unique growing conditions produce grapes with higher acidity and natural fruity flavours, giving you a perfectly balanced sip.

Wine Pick: Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio Valdadige (LCBO: $19.95). 

This wine is well renowned for its refreshing and crisp taste with notes of green apple, peach and citrus. A vino truly shines when paired with classic Italian summer staples like grilled chicken and savoury seafood salad.

 REGION 2: Treviso 

Treviso produces some of the highest quality proseccos on the market. Best known for growing the “Glera” grape, this region has strict regulations that ensure only the best grapes are harvested and vinified giving wines produced from this region the coveted “Prosecco di Treviso DOC” classification 

 Wine Pick: Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco DOC (LCBO: $15.95)

This light Prosecco has hints of apple, pear, citrus and just a bit of honeysuckle, making it slightly sweet yet wonderfully refreshing.

REGION 3: Veneto

The most productive and diverse of the wine-producing regions, this area grows everything from Valpolicella, Amarone to Pinot Grigio.

 Wine Picks: Folonari, Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC (LCBO: $13.95)

The Light, crisp and citrusy Folonari Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC invites us to reminisce of beautiful Italian summers as we brace for chillier days ahead. 

Wine Picks: Zenato, Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore DOC (LCBO: $26.95)

The rich, smooth flavours of blackberry jam, cocoa, blueberries and raisin will enhance any Italian culinary experience.

 Wine Picks: Masi, Costasera Amarone Classico Doc (LCBO: $45.00)

The luxurious deep purple hue of the Masi Costasera Amarone Classico DOC highlights the lush, velvety tones of cherries, chocolate and spices that make up this full-bodied and firm classic. A perfect wine for the upcoming holiday feasts and entertaining.

 REGION 4: Piedmont

In the hillside region of Piedmont, we find Barolo. Barolo is located southwest of the city of Alba in the Apennines. The wines of Barolo are aged for at least 18 months in barrel and are released after a total of 3+ years. They are famous wines for their elegance and enchanting taste. They are medium-bodied, smooth and pair well with just about anything. 

 Wine Picks: Marchesi di Barolo La Tradizione Barolo (LCBO: $42.95)

Intense red berries with spice and a lifted floral rose complexity. It can be enjoyed with braised beef dishes or firm cheeses.

REGION 5: Tuscany

Located in central Italy along the Tyrrhenian coast, Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most notable red wine regions. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are primarily made with Sangiovese grape. 

Wine Picks: Ruffino, Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale DOCG (LCBO: $25.95)

Continuing the almost century-old traditions of Chianti Classico, updated with modern techniques. This example is a balanced red wine with sweet plums, tart cherries and hints of cedar. It’s the perfect pairing for vibrant Italian classics like a plate of Osso Buco or your traditional holiday favourites!

 Wine Picks: Antinori, Pèppoli Chianti Classico DOCG ($19.95)

Featuring notes of cherry, currant, leather and herbs, this is the perfect pairing for your favourite classic Italian fare and should be on hand all season long to open and share with friends.

Wine Picks: Marchesi Di Frescobaldi, Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 

(LCBO: $52.95)

Rich, full-bodied flavours made up of blackberry, raspberry and earth, this is definitely a wine worth keeping to celebrating life’s pivotal moments.

 REGION 6: Marche

Coined “the New Tuscany”, Le Marche is a beautiful wine region with miles of untamed coastline, picturesque fishing villages like Portonovo, rustic mountain villages like Carpegna and wild expanses of nature that culminate in the splendorous peaks of Monti Sibillini.

 Wine Pick: Botter, Era Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC, Organic (LCBO: $10.75)

A true embodiment of the Italian culinary spirit, this rich medium-bodied red has deep berry fruit, light cedar and fresh herb flavours that make this wine a lovely fruity treat.

 Region 7: Puglia

Puglian wine is the product of a diverse landscape. Half of Italy’s olive oil is produced in the dry heat of Puglia. The warm climate and fertile soil make it easy to grow almost anything. Puglia is surrounded by water on three sides, allowing cool breezes off the Meditteranean to moderate vineyard temperatures.

Wine Pick: Luccarelli, Primitivo Puglia, Igt (LCBO: $11.95)

A deep red with a fruity bouquet and rich flavours of cherries, plums, plus a hint of vanilla.

 REGION 8: Sardinia (Island)

Viticulture in Sardinia has been in existence since pre-Roman times, a tradition that began with the people of the Nuraghi and continues into the third millennium. The wines of Sardinia have little in common with wines produced on the mainland, resulting in wines with a unique character, described as having more in common with Spanish than Italian wines.

Wine Pick: Sella & Mosca, Cannonau di Sardegna, Riserva DOC (LCBO: $17.95 )

A rich, savoury Grenache that pairs perfectly with grilled lamb or beef kebabs Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva has complex flavours of plum, wild berries, leather and spices! It is a great addition to any special dinner!

Be sure the pick up a few of our 12 Wines of Italy over the coming holiday months to enjoy with friends and family!

Carl Chiang