Italian Grapes Worth Discovering

Italian wines are among the most beloved and prized wines in the world. You can spend a lifetime enjoying Italian wines and still discover new ones – every region in Italy produces wine, and there are some 2,000 types of grapes.

Looking to go beyond your go-to Italian favorites? Here are four Italian grapes well worth a taste:

Arneis

Arneis is a white wine grape from Piedmont in northwest Italy. It is most commonly grown in the Roero region northwest of Alba. Arneis is considered a somewhat difficult grape to grow; its name means “little rascal” in Piedmontese. Wines made from Arneis are dry and crisp with floral and tree fruit flavors.

Try: Demarie Langhe Arneis 2011
This wine is 100% Arneis and comes from the Langhe DOC in the Roero region. Pleasant, easy to drink and aromatic, this wine has flavors of peach, white apricot, tart honeydew and chamomile with a touch of toasted almond on the finish. ($17.99)

Perricone

Perricone (pronounced pehr-REE-coh-nae) is a red wine grape from Sicily that is believed to be related to Barbera. Often used as a blending grape, Perricone produces wines that are medium to full in body with red and black fruit flavors.

Try: Castellucci Miano Perricone 2009
Made entirely from Perricone, this Sicilian wine is great with Italian favorites like spaghetti with meat sauce and pizza. The wine spent 10 months in French oak barrels, followed by six months in the bottle before it was released. The Castellucci Miano Perricone has flavors of black cherry, plum and red currant, with good acidity and gentle tannins. ($39.99)

Schioppettino

Schioppettino (pronounced skee-OH-pet-TEEN-oh), also known as Ribolla Nera, comes from Friuli in northeastern Italy. This grape produces medium bodied red wines that have red fruit, floral and spice notes.

Try: Vigna Traverso Schioppettino 2008
This wine is 100% Schioppettino and comes from the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC. The wine spent 8 months in French oak barrels. Berry aromas introduce a palate of raspberry, plum and cassis with layers of violet and black pepper. ($42.99)

Refosco

Refosco is a family of red wine grapes that come from Friuli, Gavi and Trentino in northern Italy. Wines produced from Refosco can be intense and tannic with black fruit and berry flavors.

Try: Grandi & Gabana Theor 2008
This wine is 70% Refosco and 30% Cabernet Franc and comes from the Venezia Giulia appellation. It spent 12 months aging in French oak barrels and a further four months in the bottle before it was released. The Theor 2008 has rich flavors of cherry, boysenberry, black pepper and cedar with chewy tannins and a hint of vanilla on the finish. ($14.99)

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