Let’s be honest, when you visit Italy, it’s for the Food and Drink. I mean, of course the sites are something to see but truthfully, the thought of an authentic bowl of pasta with a glass of Sangiovese is most tempting!
Here are 7 places wine explorers MUST to visit when in Italy.
Piedmonte – Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera d’Alba, Moscato d’Asti and so much more.
Piedmonte is a must visit for all wine lovers! When I smell tar and roses, all I smell is Barolo. If you are on the lookout for wine, visit the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato (Asti) Wine areas. (If you visit around November, you can even do Truffle Hunts!)
Make sure you do some research on Food and Wine Tours in the Piedmonte region before you head off. I recommend Travel Langhe but whatever tour works for you and your budget is always best. I also recommend booking a few weeks in advance as this area gets very busy with tourists.
Veneto – Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Bardolino, Amarone. Over 20% of Quality Italian Wine is produced in this region.
Easiest place to go is Venice of course. Venice is a magical city and the Aperol Spritz flows fast on the island. Aperol Spritz is a cocktail that combines Aperol and Prosecco. It’s amazing- definitely try it! Veneto is so vast I highly recommend a Wine tour to let the locals point you to the best wineries!
Lombardy – Francicorta
When visiting Milano, the fashion capital of the world, don’t miss out on trying the lesser known Italian Sparkling, Francicorta. I am crazy about this wine, it’s definitely one of my favourites! I also love Lake Como and nothing completes a trip to Italy like sitting at Lake Como with a bottle of bubbly.
To me, this region is the food capital of Italy. You can head to Modena and try beautiful Balsamico, you can go to Parma and see how Parma ham is produced, you can also enjoy watching some locals make Reggiano Parmagiano! The final thing they do really well here is Lambrusco. Not the sweet, low alcohol, sparkling stuff you find on the shelves here. I’m talking about a delicious, slightly sweet, cool and refreshing wine that is perfect for summer. I recommend doing a 3 Kings tour with Food and Walk Tours to get the most out of the region!
As it is my favourite place in Italy, let me break this down into a few different towns:
- San Gimignano – The home of Vernaccia, an aromatic white wine with a bitter hint end. The only problem with San Gimignano is the tourists. Other than that, it is a beautiful fortress city. (If you are looking for something a little less touristy, head to Volterra). There is a little Vernaccia museum there where you can do a Vernaccia flight. It was rather enjoyable
- Montalcino – This is the place to try the grandfather of Tuscan Wine, Brunello. There is an awesome Jazz & Wine Festival that happens in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of July which is a wonderful excuse to go. This is a very hilly town so be prepared to walk!
- Rada & Greve – Chianti and SangioveseI recommend doing a bike tour from Florence with Florence by Bike as they will take you all over Northern Chianti with Lunch included. In the first or second week of September, Greve holds an annual wine fair in Piazza Matteotii, it’s main square. This is a splendid way to spend a couple of days exploring all the Chianti your body can handle. I also recommend a wine bar called Le Cantine di Greve which houses 1200 different wines, 140 of which are up for tasting. You can try Chianti, Super Tuscans, Vin Santo and even Grappa.
- Montepulciano – Sometimes a town that gets confused with the grape varietal from Abruzzo, Montepulciano is another very hilly town that is famous for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. There are many hotel restaurants in this town as well so food and wine are never too far away.
Umbria- Sagrantino di Montefalco
Umbria really offers so much! The most beautiful olive oil, contrasting towns like Assisi and Perugia and wines like Sagrantino di Montfalco (aged around 30months) and Orvieto. Umbria is the only “state” in Italy without a coastline as it is nestled between Tuscany and Abruzzo. It is an excellent place to drive (and taste) through. Sagrantino is also a well rounded red with velvety tannins, it’s much bolder than it’s Tuscan counterparts. It must be produced in and around Perugia. There is so much history in Umbria that I cannot write it all here and I cannot do it justice. Just go and visit!
Sardinia - Vermentino and Cannonau
The last time I was in Sardinia, I was too young to drink but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying my Cannonau and Vermentino since I came of age. I’ve heard it said that Sardinian women live the longest because of all the antioxidants found in Sardinian Wine. It has something to do with the soil. Regardless, Sardinia is a beautiful island with delicious wine and food. It’s a true vacation where you can sit on the beach for hours with no one around