Italy has very diverse wine-growing regions. The northern region of Piedmont's mountains produce crisp wines and the sunny central region of Tuscany grapes are bold and full-bodies. The soil contributes to the complexity and earthiness of Italian wines.
Barolo: Is one of the most popular red wines. It is large, powerful and full-bodied with a mixture of tastes and textures. It requires a minimum of three years to age to soften it and improves quickly by decanting. Only Nebbiolo grapes, which grow in clay, limestone and sandy soil on the sunny hillsides facing south, are used. Barolo pairs perfectly with meats, rich pasta and risottos.
Barbaresco:A neighbor of Barolo, and also a product of Nebbiolo grapes. It is softer and more graceful. It requires a minimum of two years and up to fifteen to reach full potential. It pairs well with red meat and other rich foods.
Chianti: Tuscany, near Florence, produces today's Chianti. The prime grape is Sangiovese, but is sometimes combined with a small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or, Cabernet Franc. It is high in acidity with traces of plum and wild cherry. While tomato-based sauces entrees are usually paired with Chianti, it can also go well with steak.
Brunello di Montalcino: This is the second most famous area, after Chianti in terms of quality. It's a medieval town outside Siena, where the warm, sunny, hilly, with slight temperature changes, provides ideal conditions for grapes to ripen fully. The wine is created entirely of Sangiovese grapes. By law, it must be aged longer than any other wine, a minimum of four years. It has overtones of black cherry, chocolate and sweet vanilla. Brunello is Tuscany's most long-lived wine and the most expensive.
Amarone: Northern Veneto region near Venice produces air-dried Corvina grapes. The grape is air-dried for three to four months, causing them to lose a third of their water and concentrate their flavors. The result is high alcohol content of 15-16%. Amarone is aged for five years in mostly oak barrels before bottling. It's best paired with pork, roasted beef and can be served with cheeses.
Bardolino: This wine is also produced in the Veneto region from Corvina grapes. It has a hint of spice and slight cherry flavors and is best served chilled. It pairs well with fish, seafood, pasta, pizza and light meat entrees of pork and chicken.