Five Italian Wine Grapes You May Not Know

sagrantino umbria
Sagrantino grapes close to harvest in Umbria. Vintage 2015.

Check out these five Italian wine grapes you may not know – of course, some Piedmont varieties make an appearance!

Italy is home to an astounding number of red wine varieties and is known worldwide for its beautiful wine regions. For those of you looking for some Italian wine adventure but don’t know where to begin, start here with this guide to five Italian wine grapes – it won’t disappoint!

1. Barbera:

Our first in the list of Italian wine grapes is grown in the Piedmont region and is known for its rich, dark color and vanilla and chocolate flavors. Barbera is one of the five most planted grapes in Italy and top fifteen in the world.

barbera roero
Barbera grapes coming in at Azienda Agricola Demarie in the Roero (Piedmont). Vintage 2015.

2. Nebbiolo:

Also grown in the Piedmont region – and, as many of you know, probably my favorite grapes – it is considered the king of Italian red wines, dating back to the 13th. Wine made from the Nebbiolo grape has complex aromas and robust and intense flavors. It is no surprise that you find these characteristics as the aging process lasts for decades.

nebbiolo for Barolo
Nebbiolo for Barolo at Aurelio Settimo in the Barolo winemaking area of La Morra.

3. Sagrantino:

Perhaps the most intense of these five Italian wine grapes, Sagrantino is grown in the Umbria region. It is of high alcohol content, making a full-bodied and dynamic wine. The grape offers blackberry and black cherry fruitiness with a hint of spicy and earthy flavors.

sagrantino umbria
Sagrantino grapes close to harvest in Umbria. Vintage 2015.

4. Aglianico:

Saved from near extinction after WWI by the Mastroberadino family (of the wine estate of the same name), Aglianico is grown in the Campania region. The grape is often confused with the Nebbiolo grape with very similar qualities. In fact, the Taurasi DOCG (made of Aglianico), is frequently referred to as the Barolo of the South. The fruit flavors are dark and savory while the aromas suggest roses and minerals.

aglianico vulture
Aglianico from Vulture in Basilicata. Vintage 2015.

5. Nero d’Avola:

The final on our list of Italian wine grapes is Nero d’Avola, grown in Sicily. The grape became so popular that its plantings increased by over a third between 2000 and 2008; it was so big with Italians that it lead to an overproduction, followed by a decrease in grape quality. Fortunately, the quality has headed back in a positive direction. This easy-drinking wine is perfect for any occasion.

wine grapes in sicily
Sicily, the land of Nero d’Avola.

For more on the history of these five Italian wine grapes check out Joe Robert’s take on The Grapes Behind Italian Red Wines.

Five Italian Grapes You May Not Know 

Source: Blog

More from Valerie Quintanilla
Mount Etna Wines: Volcanic soil, Etna DOC, & more
The wines of Mount Etna are captivating, the history entrancing, and the...
Read More
0 replies on “Five Italian Wine Grapes You May Not Know”