Let us leave no doubt that these are the top 5 Italian wines to try during your vacation to Italy! While you’re at it try a few more to boot (no pun intended). In Italy, people possess an innate love and appreciation for wine. True Italians don’t drink soda, beer, or cocktails. For them, wine is the drink of choice for an enjoyable meal.

Fortunately, the climate along the Mediterranean Sea is perfect for growing a variety of wine-worthy grapes.  These then make for some of Europe’s most prized wines. If you’re thinking about taking a tour of Italy, here are just five of the best wines that the country has to offer:

  1. Chianti

    Bottles of Chianti

    Bottles of Chianti – Photo from Wikipedia Commons

    This is a very dry and medium-bodied wine. Among Italy’s variants of red wine, Chianti is moderately tannic, possessing a fine tart-cherry flavor. It’s made mainly from the Sangiovese grapes grown in the Chianti area of Tuscany, from where it gets its name.

    For the best taste, consider “Chianti Classico.” The more affordable and younger wines are labeled riserva while the pricier and older ones have a more concentrated taste.

  2. Brunello di Montalcino

    Brunello inside a decanter – Photo from Wikimedia Commons

    Brunello inside a decanter – Photo from Wikimedia Commons

    If you like your red wine lighter, then this might be for you. Though less dry than Chianti, it is nonetheless a full-bodied, intense, and concentrated wine. While these are also made using Sangiovese grapes, it uses those from the Montalcino area of Tuscany.

    For the best taste, look for those that are at aged 15 years. But these can get expensive. Instead, you can try the younger Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino. Despite its youth, it retains a full flavor that’s improved by an infusion of cinnamon and clove.

  3. Pinot Grigio

    Pinot Grigio for breakfast

    Pinot Grigio for breakfast – Photo from Flickr

    Like most white wines, Pinot Grigio is generally light-bodied, dry, and crisp. It possesses a subdued scent, a light flavor, and no oakiness. As the name implies, it’s made from Pinot Gris grapes that come from Northeastern Italy.

    If you’re looking for good Pinot Grigio, those from the Collio or Alto-Adige DOCs (controlled origin denomination) are usually the best. If you’re in Veneto, you can also check try some Folonari Pinot Grigio. This lively specimen has a citrus-y taste that goes well with seafood pasta.

  4. Asti

    A bottle of Asti – Photo from Wikimedia Commons

    A bottle of Asti – Photo from Wikimedia Commons

    This is a sparkling wine with low alcohol content and a sweet, fruity, floral taste. It’s made from the Moscato grapes around the province of Asti in Piedmont.  To best enjoy its fizzy quality, it’s also usually sold and consumed non-vintage.

    For a good sample, you can try the Saracco Moscato d’Asti. Its natural sweetness and refreshing texture goes well with cream-based desserts such as cakes and sorbets.

  5. Soave

    Bottles of Soave

    Bottles of Soave – Photo from Flickr

    Hailing from the Soave Zone in Veneto, this white wine is made from Garganega grapes. The flavor is quite dry and crisp. Being un-oaked, it also tends to be lighter-bodied. Hence, its taste carries some undertones of pears, apples, or peaches.

    If you find yourself in Venice, try some Pieropan Soave. It has a well-balanced texture and a brighter citrus-infused taste. Its sweet taste goes well with the region’s salty and spicy dishes. Some grilled meats or Venetian pasta also go well with a bottle of Soave.

Tasting Italy’s wines can be an eye-opening experience for connoisseurs and newcomers alike. Learning to pick the right one for your meal can make an amazing Italian vacation even more unforgettable. So while you’re there, make sure to do as the locals do and enjoy the wine!