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5 Italian Wines You Must Taste in Your Lifetime

Vigilant would like to thank guest contributor, Harold Camaya (bio below). Please note that affiliate links are not endorsed by Vigilant.

Italy, often ranked as the world’s best wine country, is the place for true wine connoisseurs. A bottle of Italian red wine has a classic taste and is fascinating for its diversified color and texture. Italy’s wine production dates back to the Etruscan era and it is a benchmark for quality and its terroir, which many wine manufacturing nations try to imitate.

Vast sections of northern and southern Italy are covered with hundreds of vineyards representing significant variations in grapes. Stretching from the snow-capped Alps to Sicily, the picturesque views are breath-taking and worth admiring. The entire area extends with colorful vines and expansive vineyards. A cornucopia of grape varieties is present in the territory, with roughly 300-350 species of grapes being cultivated during peak season.

Are you a wine lover? Does Italian red wine rank high on your list of preferred drinks? If so, then make haste and read this rundown of five Italian wines that you must taste at least once in your lifetime.

Barolo Brunate Jeroboam

Barolo Brunate Jeroboam, is a silky smooth red wine with significant aromatic complexities. This unique Barolo wine comes in designer glass bottles and evokes the fragrance of pressed rose, sage, and woodland berries while being consumed. The entire fermentation process is triggered by home-grown yeasts and takes place in huge stainless steel barrels, over the course of 10-15 days. Later, large wooden casks store the wine for more than a year.

Locally known as ‘tar and roses,’ this wine has a strong essence of tannins and is highly acidic with a distinctive scent. After a few years of aging, most of the Nebbiolo red wines fade from deep, violet-hued ruby to a beautiful brick-orange color. Enjoy it with meat for the experience of a lifetime!

Badiolo Chianti

The production house of Badiolo Chianti is in a unique, incomparable area. This wine consists of a smooth, harmonious taste that always remains fresh. Its bright ruby-red color matures more with age and its aroma is scented with red fruits, dried herbs, bittersweet cherries, and a bit of violet. Unlike other dry red wines, Badiolo Chianti is made from Sangiovese grape varieties, and its aging process takes over a year inside large oak barrels. Later, the four- to five-month refining process takes place in glass bottles to enrich its body and smoothness.

Badiolo Chianti has evolved over the years and advanced in texture and flavor with modernized production technology. Legally, this wine should contain 70% Sangiovese (which rises to a minimum of 80-85 percent with aging) along with other grape varieties like Colorino, Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo, and Mammolo. Plan to serve this to your revered guests to commemorate a special occasion.

Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot wine is a world-famous amalgamation of two grape varieties. For many years, classic Bordeaux wine grapes have been used to make Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A cabernet merlot provides a smooth flavor, consisting of acids and tannins, along with the dark fruity essence of bell peppers and black currants. The taste is generous over the palate, with a lingering fruity smell. Merlot’s juiciness mostly flattens Cabernet’s full-bodied structure.

This red wine blend is similar to an oak flavor and is entirely barrel-aged. You can grace your wine cellar with several bottles of this, as it comes at a budget-friendly price.

Primitivo di Manduria

Primitivo grapes are dark-skinned and produce a tannic wine, unique for its bitter flavor. A natural variant of Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale, it is high in alcohol content and tannins, ink-like in color, and its flavor is intensely sweet but bitter thanks to a few years of aging in either bottles or barrels. In Manduria, the variants of strong liquors often reach 18% alcohol by volume (ABV) so at 14% Primitivo di Manduria fits in the table wine category.

The meaning of Primitivo is the ‘early one,’ and in this case the connotation refers to its early ripening nature. Recently the southern part of Italy has started producing Primitivo, and it is now one of south Italy’s flagship wines. Don’t forget to buy one on your trip to the Italian vineyards!

Passolo Salento Rosso

Passolo is Italian for “overripe grapes” and Passolo Salento Rosso is a dark red wine with a rich, complex aromatic flavor of cherries, black currants, and a bit of licorice. A well-balanced, soft tannin completes its full, round taste. This wine hails from southern Italy’s Puglia and is the ultimate blend of two types of regular red wine – Negroamaro and Primitivo.

Negroamaro is mainly distinguished for its dark color and deep flavor of berry fruits. Known for its earthiness, it is medium-bodied and mildly aromatic. Negroamaro means ‘black bitter,’ referring to the wine’s dark texture and pungent flavor. While tasting, do not take its meaning too lightly, as it is bitter in the truest sense!

Primitivo, on the other hand, has sour-flavored tannins and really “packs a punch.” Primitivo is aged in bottles or barrels and has a more mature taste. Neither grape variety loses any color, tannin, or alcohol content so their combination is a successful one. All in all, this wine is ageless, with the relative qualities of each wine improving Passolo Salento Rosso’s structure and increasing its lifespan.

Bottoms up!

As one of the oldest wine-producing nations, the demand is high for good red wine in Italy. One of the most challenging aspects of putting together a list of the best Italian wines is the numerous variations in taste, texture, and blends of so many grape varieties. These five notable Italian wines will give you the tasting experience of a lifetime. So say cheers to good times – or better times – with some Italian red wine today!

Should you be in the market for a wine room to store all of your Italian wine, please reach out to our design experts at 888-812-4427. You can also download our wine cellar catalog for more inspiration.

About Mr. Camaya – with five years of experience in wine marketing, Harold is considered a thought leader in the digital marketing of luxury wines. From writing, event planning and public relations to videography and digital media, he continues to diversify his skills with changing trends and technologies. On his off days, he likes to spend time at the nearest animal shelter, lift weights, or be nose-deep in a novel.

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