The wine scene in northern Italy is incredibly diverse and boasts a wide range of popular wines. While Barolo, Barbaresco, Prosecco, Amarone, Lambrusco, and Franciacorta may be the most well-known, there are several other exciting wines that are gaining recognition and should not be overlooked.
1. Nebbiolo-based Wines: Barolo and Barbaresco are undoubtedly the kings of Italian wine and are made from the Nebbiolo grape. These wines are known for their complexity, longevity, and ability to age gracefully. They often exhibit flavors of dark fruits, tar, roses, and earthiness. While Barolo and Barbaresco take the spotlight, there are other Nebbiolo-based wines worth exploring, such as Ghemme and Gattinara from the Piedmont region.
2. Valpolicella: Valpolicella, a wine from the Veneto region, is made primarily with the Corvina grape. It comes in different styles, including Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Ripasso, and Amarone della Valpolicella. Valpolicella Classico is a lighter red wine with cherry and floral notes, while Valpolicella Ripasso undergoes a second fermentation on Amarone grape skins, resulting in a richer and more concentrated wine. Amarone, on the other hand, is a powerful and full-bodied wine with intense flavors of dried fruits, chocolate, and spice.
3. Gavi: Gavi, made from the Cortese grape, is a white wine produced in the Piedmont region. It is known for its crisp acidity, delicate floral aromas, and flavors of citrus fruits and green apples. Gavi pairs well with seafood and is a refreshing choice for warm summer days.
4. Trentodoc: Trentodoc is a sparkling wine produced in Trentino, in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains. Made using the traditional method, similar to Champagne, Trentodoc wines showcase elegance and finesse. They often exhibit flavors of apple, pear, and brioche, with a fine and persistent mousse. Trentodoc is a fantastic alternative to Champagne and is gaining recognition worldwide.
5. Barbera: Barbera is a red grape variety that thrives in the Piedmont region. It produces wines that are known for their bright acidity, juicy red fruit flavors, and versatility. Barbera wines can be enjoyed young, with vibrant fruit and freshness, or aged in oak, which adds complexity and depth. Barbera is often seen as a more approachable and affordable alternative to the prestigious Nebbiolo wines.
6. Lugana: Lugana is a white wine produced on the southern shores of Lake Garda, in Lombardy and Veneto. Made primarily from the Turbiana grape, Lugana wines are crisp, mineral-driven, and exhibit flavors of white flowers, citrus, and stone fruits. They are excellent as an aperitif or paired with seafood and light pasta dishes.
7. Moscato d'Asti: Moscato d'Asti is a sweet and slightly sparkling wine made from the Moscato Bianco grape. It hails from the Piedmont region and is loved for its low alcohol content, aromatic profile, and vibrant fruit flavors. It is a delightful wine to enjoy on its own or paired with fruity desserts.
While Barolo, Barbaresco, Prosecco, Amarone, Lambrusco, and Franciacorta may be the most famous wines from northern Italy, there is a vast array of other exciting wines to discover. From Nebbiolo-based wines to Valpolicella, Gavi, Trentodoc, Barbera, Lugana, and Moscato d'Asti, the northern Italian wine scene offers something for every palate and occasion.