Everyone talks about Italian Reds, but what about Italian white wines? In my opinion they are greatly unappreciated! Italian white wines can be exceptional quality, affordable, and there are so many to choose from. Of course we all know Pinot Grigio, but there are so many other amazing quality white wines produced throughout Italy. Each region, North to South, has something special to offer. In this post, I hope I can help you find a new favorite spring and summer sipper!
Friulano is the most planted grape variety in the region of Friuli. This Italian white wine has a unique nose of floral, orange zest, and green apples with minerality and salinity on the palate. Overall, the mouthfeel is light and silky which is perfect to sip on a nice spring day. These wines are meant to be enjoyed in their youth, while some can age for 2 -3 years. Pair this with a risotto or seafood dish!
Soave Classico has become one of my new favorite Italian white wines this spring. They say the Italians sell us their Pinot Grigio but save the Soave for themselves! Soave wines are produced in the Classico vineyard zone of the Soave DOC region in Northern Italy. They are made from Garganega grapes and produce a dry delicious white wine! Soave Classico has refreshing acidity with notes of white blossoms, golden apple, pear, lemon, and a bit of honey. I would enjoy this with a goat cheese and honey crostini, citrus salad or a creamy pasta dish!
I will be the first to admit I am not a big sweet wine lover, but when it comes to food that’s SPICY there is no better pairing. I think one of the first wines I had in college was a cheap pink Moscato that was like $4 and tasted like juice! You have that kind of Moscato, but then you have Moscato d’Asti DOCG (DOCG is the highest ranking of Italian wines) that comes from the Piemonte region of Italy. It displays notes of orange blossom, honeysuckle, and sweet lemon. Moscato d’Asti is light-bodied, sweet, and semi-sparkling or frizzante, with low alcohol. All of these characteristics makes it perfect for pairing with spicy food. We made spicy chicken and citrus salad with blue cheese, and every element paired perfectly with this Moscato d’Asti!
Grechetto is the primary white grape variety in Orvieto wines from the Umbria and Lazio regions in Central Italy. This grape often produces a wine that is medium to full body. Although it’s fuller in body, it still tastes light and refreshing! It tends to have notes of ripe grapefruit, peaches, and honeydew. It’s definitely enjoyable on it’s own, but you could also pair this with hard cheeses and jam or a salad with light protein.
Verdicchio comes from the Italian word for green: verde. This name comes from it’s greenish hue and green fruit aromas and flavors. You’ll often smell lime, herbs and kiwi on the nose of this one! These wines are made in the Marche region of Central Italy. There are some nice quality Verdicchio DOC wines, and they have a Verdicchio Classico that has a bit more complexity that comes from the lower yielding vineyards and longer aging process. This wine’s acidity and full flavor would be delicious with chicken, pork, or some food with a bit of spice to it!
Greco di Tufo is an Italian white grape variety and DOCG region located in the Campania region of Italy. These wines are known for their characteristics developed from volcanic and clay soils; which give the wine its unique aromas and minerality. Most Greco wines are done in stainless steel, producing a refreshing and crisp white wine with notes of green apple, stone fruit, lemon, and almonds with lingering mineral finish. The best wines can age and develop notes of mushrooms and honey over time. This wine would be delicious with a seafood dish or grilled chicken!
Trebbiano is known as the “white table wine” of Italy. Just because it’s a table wine doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious! It’s very light and dry, with notes of citrus, green apple, and some tropical notes with that famous minerality that shines through in Italian white wines. The nice thing about Trebbiano is it’s a high yield crop, and grown all over Italy! This grape is also used in the production of brandy and balsamic vinegar too.
The Etna wine growing region in Sicily was founded long ago by the ancient greeks. Since then it was neglected until winemakers over the past decade realized its huge wine growing potential. The thing that makes this region really special is the unique terroir. Mount Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world!
These white wines from the Etna soils are made largely from Carricante. You’ll often taste notes of citrus, melon, mandarin orange, and an ashy minerality to finish. Etna Bianco wines are light body but delightfully intense and complex! I am a sucker for raw fish or anything fresh. A bottle of this Italian white wine with tuna poke, white fish with lemon, or cheese and olives would be delightful!
If you’re in the spring and summer mood, check out some of my food and wine pairings suggestions!