Italy is well known for its red wines. Here you will discover the major types of Italian red wines that you can try. The list below highlights the best Italian red wine types you can choose from whenever you need to sip a glass of wine.
Sangiovese is a red wine made from Sangiovese grapes commonly grown in Italy. It has savory features due to high levels of acidity and tannins. Sangiovese has a medium level of alcohol content of between 13-14% ABV.
Sangiovese wines are dry and acidic comes with savory and fruity flavors. The taste depends on where and how it’s produced. Common tasting notes include cherry, raspberry, strawberry, plum, herbaceous notes, clay, tobacco, tomato, leather.
Sangiovese wine is dry due to high levels of acidity and tannin.
Sangiovese wine is a versatile pairing partner due to its innate acidity and savory character. You can pair it with pizza, roasted chicken, lamb chops, and grilled steak.
Serve your Sangiovese in a wine glass with a slight chill or at room temperature.
The average price for Sangiovese wine is $25/750ml.
2. Nebbiolo (also called Barolo sometimes)
Nebbiolo red wine is made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in Piedmont, Italy. Nebbiolo wines are full-bodied, highly tannic, and lightly colored. It has an alcohol content of between 13.5 – 15% ABV. It is a dry wine.
Nebbiolo wines have taste notes of elegant rose petals and earthy tar flavor. It also features red fruit aromas such as cherry and cranberry. Due to high tannin levels, Nebbiolo wines can take years of aging to balance the tannin, acidity, and fruit character. A well-aged wine will feature tasting notes of truffle, prunes, and leather.
Nebbiolo is a great choice for pairing with food due to its high tannin and acidity levels. It is the perfect combination for food rich in butter, olive oil, and fat. You can pair your wine with meat, cheese, spices, herbs, and vegetables.
Avoid pairing the wine with sweeter foods and lean meats due to the high acidity and tannin in the wine.
The average price for Nebbiolo wine is $43/750ml.
Montepulciano is a red wine made from Montepulciano grapes grown in the Abruzzo region. It has high levels of tannins and acid. Montepulciano is a medium to full body wine with an alcohol content of 11.5 -13.5 % ABV. It is a dry wine.
Montepulciano is popularly known for its high amount of acidity, tannin, and deep color. Its most common taste notes include black fruits, oregano, tobacco, and pepper. The taste of the wine is also influenced by the aging process.
Montepulciano pairs best with savory foods such as beef brisket, ragu, pizzas, and hamburgers. You can also pair the wine with roasted vegetables such as beetroots, baked potatoes, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Avoid pairing the wine with light dishes such as raw fish and salads as well as spicy food, as they tend to make your wine bitter.
The average price for Montepulciano wine is $10/750ml.
4. Nero d’Avola
Nero d’Avola is an Italian red wine derived from Nero d’Avola red grapes that flourish in Sicily. It is a full-bodied wine with levels of tannins and moderate acidity. The wine has an alcohol content of 13.5 -14.5 % ABV. Nero d’Avola is a dry wine.
It is a strong wine that takes on the tasting notes of licorice, prune, black cherry, and black plum. It also features cherry and herbal aroma that fits its fruity nature.
Nero d’Avola pairs well steaks, pork chops, meatloaf, burgers, and barbecue. Its strong acidic flavor enables the wine to break down fats and oils in rich meats. You can also pair the wine with chicken dishes prepared with sour sauces.
The average cost for quality Nero d’Avola wine is $15-20.
Dolcetto wine is from Dolcetto grapes grown in Alessandria and Cuneo provinces. It is a medium-full body wine that is light and dry. Its low tannins and medium-low acidity. Dolcetto has an alcohol content of 11.5 – 13.5% ABV.
Wines from Dolcetto grapes are juicy and earthy. The wine is dry and has a tannic flavor. Its primary flavors are plum, violet, blackberry, black pepper, and cocoa. Dolcetto wine pairs greatly with richer meats, pizzas, and vegetable meals.
The average price for Dolcetto wine is $14/750ml.
Primitivo is an Italian red wine produced from a grape variety called zinfandel. The wine is full-bodied and dry. Primitivo wines have a high content of tannin and alcohol. They are earthy and rustic. The main Primitivo wine flavor notes include cherry, raising, blackberry, strawberry, vanilla, licorice, and smoke.
Primitivo wine is a perfect match for your meat dishes. You can pair it with lamb or goat meat, blood sausage, and grilled steak.
The average price for Primitivo wine is $5/750ml.
Barbera is an Italian red wine derived from Barbera grapes commonly grown in Asti and Alessandria, Italy. The wine is light-bodied and contains low levels of tannins. It is a high acidity wine that is dry. It has an alcohol content of between 11.5 – 14.5 % ABV.
Berbera is a distinct wine due to its intense, almost black color and light-bodied taste. The unique flavor is highlighted by sour cherries, raspberry, and strawberry notes. High acidity and low tannin make Barbera wine taste juicy. Other notable notes include violet, anise, vanilla, dried leaves, blackberry, and lavender. The wine is often enjoyed when it is quite young, i.e., within 2-4 years.
You pair Barbera with several dishes on account of its acidity. Tajarin pasta is regional and traditional pair for Barbera wine. You can also pair the wine with rich meats, cheeses, and creamy pasta dishes.
The average price for Barbera wine is $22/750ml.
Aglianico is an Italian red wine made from Aglianico grapes grown in southern Italy. It is a full-bodied and dry wine. The wine is composed of high tannins and high acidity that make it dry. It also contains a medium to high alcohol content. Aglianico is age-worthy and takes between 10 – 20+ years.
Aglianico has several taste and flavor notes that include white pepper, smoke, spiced plum, black cherry, game, tobacco, blueberry, dried raspberry, and black truffle.
The structure of Aglianico and its high acidity allows you to pair the wine with barbecue sauce. It is also perfect for rich meats due to the high tannin that absorb fat. You can also serve it with vegetables such as soy sauce, black beans, and roasted mushrooms.
The average price for Aglianico wine is $17/750ml.