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Italy & Wine

ITALIAN WINE VARIETALS

Italian vineyards contain hundreds of varietals – both native varieties unique to Italy as well as international grape types.


Sangiovese

Tuscany's #1 red grape, and the primary grape used to produce Chianti wines
Means 'Blood of Jupiter'
Known as Prugnolo Gentile in Montepulciano

Characteristics

Medium color intensity, high acidity, firm tannins

Aromas & Flavours

Cherries, plums, berries, herbs, flowers, chocolate, smoke


Sangiovese Grosso

Means 'Large Sangiovese'
Top-quality Sangiovese clone
Known as Brunello in Montalcino

Characteristics

Silky, dry, medium bodied

Aromas & Flavours

Cherries, blackberries, pepper, earth


Canaiolo

Traditionally blended with Sangiovese in order to soften intensity and texture

Characteristics

Less tannin, less acidity than Sangiovese; by itself, produces light reds and rosés

Aromas & Flavours

Slightly bitter, berry and vegetal undertones


Canaiolo Bianco

Also called Drupeggio
Mostly planted in Umbria where it is an important blending variety in Orvieto wines

Characteristics

Soft with a touch of sweetness

Aromas & Flavours

Apple, pear, citrus


Cabernet Sauvignon

Frequently blended with Sangiovese in order to balance tannins

Characteristics

Dark color, firm tannins

Aromas & Flavours

Black currants, cedar, tobacco, occasional vegetal undertones


Chardonnay

The principal white grape variety of Burgundy, France; grown in Tuscany for more than 150 years

Characteristics

Lean, crisp

Aromas & Flavours

Citrus fruits, creamy vanilla, caramel, honey, peaches


Colorino

Known for its intensely dark skins, which impart deep colour to wines
Little-known indigenous variety containing powerful antioxidants

Characteristics

Highly colored, dry

Aromas & Flavours

Black cherries, cassis, vanilla, chocolate


Glera

The heart of Prosecco wines
Mostly planted in Italy's northeastern Veneto region

Characteristics

Subtle fruit character and light, refreshing acidity

Aromas & Flavours

Fresh apple, white peach, pears, stone fruits and florals


Grechetto

The most typical white variety used in Orvieto Classico DOC wines
Primarily a blending grape, although some varietal wines can be found

Characteristics

Provides structure, fruit and balance

Aromas & Flavours

Floral and nutty flavours


Merlot

Often blended with Sangiovese in order to provide colour and fleshiness

Characteristics

Medium body and colour

Aromas & Flavours

Black currants, cherries, herbs, vegetal undertones


Moscato Bianco

Thought to be the oldest domesticated grape varietal
The primary grape used in Moscato d'Asti wines

Characteristics

Light bodied, aromatic

Aromas & Flavours

Peach, citrus and floral notes


Pinot Grigio

'Grigio' means 'gray' in Italian—the fruit is commonly grayish blue
A popular grape variety in northeastern Italy

Characteristics

Light bodied and acidic

Aromas & Flavours

Tropical fruit notes of melon and mango


Procanico

A specific clone of Trebbiano Toscano
Primarily a blending grape

Characteristics

Fresh and fruity with high acid

Aromas & Flavours

Citrus and almonds


Verdello

Local name for Verdicchio
The name Verdicchio comes from verde or 'green' and refers to the slight greenish hue the wine can have

Characteristics

High acidity

Aromas & Flavours

Citrus fruits, almonds