Italian wines are some of the greatest worldwide, increasingly ranked as such by the experts; it is the result of thousands of years of heritage, techniques and passion.
At Libiamo, we’ve made the sharpest high-end selection of wines for you to sublimate any occasion from an every day indulgence to a unique celebration.
Our sommeliers almost never sleep! They spot elegant, balanced, powerful but still refined reds; dry or fruity, rather light or intense unexpected rosés; refreshing or full-bodied able-to-age dry whites; either white or red, fizzy or bubbly welcoming sparklers; fully aromatic sweet dessert nectars; authentic and alive organics. And all of them bear a slice of the whole aromatic palette of Italy inside.
The diversity of microclimates and traditions make the richness of the Italian wine.
It has led to a local classification system including 4 main designations:
- DOCG, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita denotes the highest quality recognition, controlled production methods and guaranteed wine quality. The wine must meet some strict label rules like areas of production, grape varieties and ripeness, yield limits, winemaking procedures and barrel/bottle maturation. Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto regions carry the most DOCG and Barolo enters this category for instance.
- DOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata - like the French AOC - constitutes the main tier (around 60% of appellations) and covers almost every traditional Italian wine style. The requirements mainly refer to the viticultural zone and permitted grape varieties; white Soave is a DOC for instance.
- IGT, Indicazione Geografica Tipica was created to allow more freedom in vineyard experimentations (basically under the impulse of the greatest "Super Tuscan '' that have been breaking traditional winemaking norms since the 70’s). This classification (like for Toscana IGT) only focuses on the region of origin rather than grape varieties or wine styles.
- VdT, Vino Da Tavola designates table wines whose only basic criteria is to be produced somewhere in Italy.
400 grapes have been officially identified - what happens to be the largest number in the world - out of 2000 estimated varieties in the peninsula.
Vines are everywhere, running from the mountains to the islands, from the coldest snow to the most burning sun; and each of the 20 regions has its own identity and flagship wine styles.
- Tuscany Tuscany is nowadays one of the most famous and active wine region in Europe. Iconic wines like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano all benefit from its perfect topography and climate. If this is pretty much the home of Sangiovese red grapes, some native white ones are definitely worth tasting like dry Vernaccia di San Gimignano or sweet Vin Santo.
- Piedmont Piedmont sits amongst the world’s finest wine regions also. It hosts many small family wineries focussing on quality. Tannic and floral Nebbiolo red grapes variety is at the heart of everything and has mainly made the reputation of Piedmont with outstanding Barolo and Barbaresco. Nonetheless, classic Barbera is now behind a growing number of remarkable wines which are enjoyable within just a year or two of vintage. Beyond the pure plain reds, Gavi (made from Cortese grapes) is the aromatic dry white of the connoisseurs; and well-regarded sparkling sweet wines like white Moscato d’Asti or red Brachetto d’Acqui have become trendy high-quality basics.
- Campania Campania has an envious terroir under a perfect Mediterranean climate. The region displays an impressive array of grape varieties - some of which are found almost nowhere else on earth - which produce rich and complex wines on volcanic and mineral soils. Aglianico native grape is the red king behind the famous Taurasi and Fiano and Greco the white ones - even though less known varieties such as Forastera, Falanghina or Fenile are pure gems.
- Sicily Sicily has more vineyards than any other region, huge climatic variations and ancestral traditions. It’s got plenty of native varieties of which the strong tannic Nero d’Avola and more delicate Nerello Mascalese reds. It is also famous for its white varieties, characterized by mineral and crispy taste, such as Grillo, Catarratto and Insolia. It is also the cradle of the Italian sherry - Marsala - and another less famous but still significant sweet wine called Moscato di Pantelleria.
- Veneto Veneto is a substantial and increasingly important wine region. It is mostly known for its intense complex and emblematic Amarone or fruity Valpolicella reds, but also for its white wines such as refreshing Soave, clean Chardonnay, subtle Garganega and sparkling Prosecco.
- Puglia Puglia is now acknowledged as an exciting wine region with 25 individual DOC’s areas mostly producing high-quality fruity reds like robust Primitivo or Negroamaro.
- Abruzzo Abruzzo is basically Montepulciano’s kingdom, one of the best known Italian indigenous red grapes giving dark, spicy, fruity and tannic nectars. Local white wines are dry and mainly made from a local Trebbiano grape version.
- Umbria Umbria has a very similar climate to Tuscany and still many treasures to be unveiled. It is best known for its dry white wine production, Procanico (local Trebbiano’s name) and Grechetto being the most popular indigenous grapes. But deep and powerful Sagrantino reds also deserve a mention.
- Emilia-Romagna Emilia-Romagna is one of the country's most prolific wine regions, especially for sparkling wines either frizzante or spumante, white or red; it is the famous sparkling red Lambrusco’s cradle. Apart from this, the region mainly produces Sangiovese in red grapes and very few rare others.
- Lombardy Lobardy, one of Italy's largest regions, has only two wine features to highlight: unexpected and unique red Valtellina - made of Chiavennasca, the local name for an Alpine Nebbiolo grape - and outstanding sparkling white - Franciacorta - produced in the traditional method of Champagne.
- Valle d’Aosta Valle d’Aosta’s vinicultural history might be as rich as the geographical conditions are extreme. In this small region a wide range of red and white wines is made from both native and international grape varieties; being clearly influenced by neighbours, French grapes are actually as common here as Italian ones. Fruity whites are produced in both dry and sweet styles from Prié Blanc, Moscato Bianco and Pinot Grigio; and reds are primarily made with Picotendro - the local Nebbiolo.
- Trentino-Alto Adige Trentino-Alto Adige’s wines reflect both the region’s cultural and topographical complexity. These mountainous vineyards are basically shared between native - mainly reds in Schiava and Lagrein - and German grape varieties such as Müller-Thurgau or Sylvaner.
- Friuli-Venezia Giulia Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s dry white wine varies depending on whether it's made under the southern Mediterranean climate or under the northern alpine continental one. Mostly non-traditional grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Bianco are used; eventually some Italian Pinot Grigio and regional Picolit.
- Lazio Lazio’s reputation is mainly based on light dry white wines made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes.
- Le Marche Le Marche is mostly associated with dry white wines made with Trebbiano and Verdicchio native grapes benefiting from a moderate climate.
- Molise Molise is quite a newcomer to winemaking but grows diverse red and white native grapes like Aglanico, Montepulciano or Sangiovese, Falanghina, Greco or Trebbiano.
- Liguria Liguria is quite an inhospitable land for vineyards. Most Ligurian wines come from artisanal producers working on terraces carved from the rocky slopes; and unfortunately only very few of them cross international borders. Yet, some good quality fragrant and mineral white wines are made locally, mainly with Vermentino and Pigato grapes. Red-wise, the best native variety is Rossese; being quite similar to Pinot Noir, it gives fruity and spicy wines.
- Sardinia Sardinia hasn’t really taken off, only a small percentage of the island's land is given over to vines despite having the perfect conditions for winemaking. The grapes varieties bear few resemblance to those in any other Italian region but more to those we can find in other Mediterranean countries like strong red Grenache (Cannonau) or Carignan, Vermentino and Muscat Blanc.
- Basilicata Basilicata’s name rarely pops up in wine circles but the region still produces some well-structured wines almost all full-bodied Aglianico reds; alike to Calabria, mainly producing rustic and tannic Gaglioppo.