Piedmont: Barolo - Barbaresco - Barbera
Everybody loves the wines of Piemonte. I'm bringing over both small-production wines from some bright new producers, as well as the classics and several cellar-worthy options. The Barbera wines of the region are outstanding and great value, so don't miss them.
Veneto: Amarone - Valpolicella - Soave
Deep, dark and delicious reds and bright whites are the hallmarks of Veneto wines, and these are some of my favorites.
Other Northern Reds and Whites: Valtellina - Alto Adige - Friuli
Italy's far northern regions produce fascinating wines from Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Lagrein, Schiava, Refosco and many other obscure but delicious indigenous red and white grapes. I'm building up this list of northern reds and whites as I taste my way through the Vallee d'Aosta, Valtellina, Alto Adige & Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Tuscany: Brunello - Chianti - Super Tuscan
Sangiovese reigns in Tuscany & Umbria, with dramatic differences in the 3 big "Tuscan Brothers" of Chianti, Brunello and Vino Nobile. Is it possible to have too much Sangiovese? Maybe. Here are some of my favorites.
Umbria: Sagrantino - Reds & Whites
Umbria is Italy's "green heart" and the best friend of Tuscany, and it's no slouch when it comes to producing reds and whites that rival bella Toscana. I'm a big fan of Sagrantino di Montefalco, the "sacred wine" dating back 700 years and originally produced by Franciscan friars. These days production is tiny but amazing. Check out these top gems of all Italian wines.
Le Marche & Abruzzo & Molise: Montepulciano - Trebbiano - Verdicchio
The wines of Le Marche, Abruzzo & Molise are quite distinctive, resulting from diverse soil types & a cooler ripening season. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is rightly famous and a great value, as are the Verdicchio wines from Le Marche. My favorites include the peculiar Trebbiano wines from Abruzzo, and obscure white grapes like Pecorino.
Liguria: Rossese - Vermentino - Cinque Terre
Liguria is a tough place to find wine available for importing to the States, especially around the Cinque Terre. Production is so small that many bottles just never make it onto our shores. I'm changing all that and bringing over some tasty Ligurian reds and whites.
Lazio & Campania: Cesanese - Taurasi
These two western regions put out an amazing amount of wine, but many are little known by us Americans. I'm a fan of the reds from around Rome and the big-big Taurasi reds from near Naples. Check them out.
Sicily: Etna - Vittoria - Pantelleria
I love the wines of Sicily, especially the grumbly reds and whites of Mount Etna, and the delicate Zibibbo (Moscato) wines of scirocco-swept Pantelleria island. There's so much to explore in Sicily, and I'll be continuing to build up this part of my list.
Sicily: Other Reds and Whites
Sicily is a big island, and it is flooded with great wines from both International varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as island natives like Nero d'Avola, Grillo, and Inzolia. Here are some of the best I've found on the island.
Italy produces some wonderful sweet wines, like the ethereal Vin Santo from Tuscany and the eccentric red dessert wine Sollucchero from the mountains of Umbria. Explore these for a sweet experience of Italy's indigenous grapes.
Bubbly: Prosecco - Franciacorta
Who doesn't like bubbles? Prosecco is an easy drinker that's inexpensive and really delivers. For an Italian bubbly experience with kinship to the great Champagnes of France, check out Franciacorta.
Italian Whites & Pinks
Italy produces some wonderful white wines, going beyond the usual Pinot Grigio that so many love. I'm building a rather eclectic list of delicious whites from up-and-down the peninsula. Many of these are seasonal and limited production, so check back often if you're a vino bianco fan.
Yep, you guessed it -- these are bright, fresh & delicious when paired with pizzas, pastas and simple dishes. They're priced nicely, and worth stocking up as an everyday "house wine."
Aromatized Wine: Vermouth - Chinato
Vermouth and Chinato are red or white wines that are flavored with aromatic herbs and spices. Produced mainly in Piemonte and Lombardia, most producers are massive and crank out endless bottles of the stuff -- but I've found some small-scale producers making artisanal Vermouth and Chinato that are absolutely delicious. Start your evening with a glass of Vermouth, or end your meal with a digestivo of Chinato. These are also superb ingredients for cocktails. Give it a shake.
Some wines are worthy of saving for special events, or made by particularly famous producers, or perhaps are simply in limited supply. We stock some cellar-worthy wines from up and down the Italian peninsula. If you're looking for something in particular, contact me.
Pantry: Olive Oil - Coffee - Chocolate
Every once in a while I run across some extraordinary pantry items while visiting new towns and markets. I bring over limited quantities of tasty items, like small production olive oil and micro-roasted coffee. Check back often for what's new in my shop.
Books: Smart Travel
Smart travelers know that the secret to getting maximum thrills per minute on a trip to Italy is by buying and using a few key travel guide books. These are my personal favorites that I use on my trips, updated annually and direct from the Italian printers. Buonviaggio.
Books: Wine Guides - Maps
Explore Italy's wines through some very handy guidebooks published by subject matter experts. Many of these are published annually, and it pays to have a current copy on hand when diving into this year's release of Italian wines.