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While most people may associate the sparkling, Italian wines with the warmer days of the year, there are several grape varieties ideal for winter drinking. In summer the grapes are ripening, and in winter the previous vintages are ready for drinking.  It’s a continuous cycle that infinitely repeats. This is the beauty of the winemaking process.
Here is a selection of Red and White wines that combine well with winter meals. Some are exported but some you you will want to do some wine tasting on location during your next trip to Italy.

Red Italian Wines

Red is by far the most popular wine drank globally throughout winter. Fans of Italian reds, in particular, will be spoiled for choice. These will go very well with a warm,  beef-based meal.

Red Italian wines are perfect with a warm, winter meal / Photo @aber.nethy

 

Amarone

This blend of grapes has distinctive raisiny and earthy notes. Amarone is dried in crates for around four months before being aged in casks made of oak. The result is a very concentrated and bold red with a high tannin count. It is a good idea to age this wine for a few years to improve an already great taste.

Suggested Tour: Amarone wine tasting tour from Milan, from €169.

Chianti Classico

The warm climate of central Tuscany, combined with clay soil, gives this red wine a complex palate. It includes bitter herbs, tart fruits, smokiness, and even tobacco. Aging is not required as Chianti Classico is bottled ready to drink straight away.

Suggested Tour: Wine Tasting at a Private Medieval Winery in Chianti – Tuscany, from €93.

Sassella

Grapes picked for Sassella are from the area near the church and sanctuary of Santa Maria della Sasella in the Valtellina Valley of Lombardy. The church originally built in the valley, is said to have been miraculously moved overnight to the peak by the Virgin Mary. Aromas of wild berries, floral accents, toasted notes and slight fragrances of aromatic herbs make up a very typical and territorial bouquet.

Sagrantino

A small medieval town within Montefalco produces this underrated delight. Sagrantino is known for having some of the highest antioxidant levels of any red wine. This, combined with its floral taste, makes it a real treat. Sagrantino can be aged for more than thirty years in a decent cellar.

White Italian Wines

An opulent white can be a warm comfort as the days get darker and shorter. These Italian varieties make the perfect pairing with poultry or seafood dishes.

White Italian wines are also nice in winter / Photo @aber.nethy.

Grillo

This emerging grape is characterized by tropical fruits and warm spice. It strikes a fine balance with an initial richness before tasting crisp. There is also a slightly oily texture that creates a sense of depth.

Pinot Bianco

Throughout most of the wine world, this is known as Pinot Blanc. The Alto Adige variant has a vibrant herbal quality to it. There is a vibrancy that towers over its many competitors.

Trebbiano Spoletino

Fans of intense fruity flavors will get the most out of this white. There are nuanced notes of citrus, melon, and papaya. A salty finish allows it to pair with a variety of fish.

Search: Food and wine tours in Umbria.

Rosé

Most rosé types are best served during the hot summer days. However, people who want to drink pink in winter will be pleased to read that a couple of grapes actually taste better in colder weather. They pair well with soft cheeses such as Burrata.

Nerello Mascalese

These bush vine grapes are grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Etna. The main flavor is one of red berry, followed by a saline minerality. Nerello Mascalese has plenty of texture layers, making it a great bottle for wine tasting parties.

Susucaru

Another popular Mount Etna based rosé, Susucaru, is made by fermenting red and white grapes together. The result is a cherry and earth taste with a cloudy look. There is some debate over whether it should be categorized as either dark rosé or light red. Regardless, fans of both will get a lot out of this unusual yet delightful wine.

Suggested Tour: Montefalco: Winery and Oil Mill Tour in with Lunch, from €41.

No matter what Italian wine you prefer, you will always find a locally produced wine in the area.
Article by Anthony Ryan
Featured Photo by Jos Speetjens on Unsplash