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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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: Apple, pear, citrus

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Frequently blended with Sangiovese in order to balance tannins
  • Characteristics: Dark color, firm tannins
  • Aromas & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: Citrus fruits, creamy vanilla, caramel, honey, peaches

Colorino

  • Known for its intensely dark skins, which impart deep color to wines
  • Little-known indigenous variety containing powerful antioxidants
  • Characteristics: Highly colored, dry
  • Aromas & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: Floral and nutty flavors

Merlot

  • Often blended with Sangiovese in order to provide color and fleshiness
  • Characteristics: Medium body and color
  • Aromas & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: 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 & Flavors: Citrus fruits, almonds