Italy Wine Regions
Just south of Rome, the volcanic soil of the Castelli Romani hills yield a variety of pleasant DOC white wines including Frascati, Marino, and Colli Albani. The area is also a regional park and very popular destination for outings from Rome, with charming country landscapes, historic towns and villas, and a lively festival. Winery open for visits: Tenuta di Pietra Porzia (www.tenutadipietraporzia.it).
The Chianti Classico area covers most of four municipalities in the province of Florence (to the north of the city proper), plus five in the province of Siena (south of Florence), representing only a fraction of the whole geographic Chianti region. Here you'll find the quintessential Tuscan countryside, with manicured vineyards and neat olive groves interspersed with picturesque farmhouses and historic villas and castles. Check the Chianti Classico website to find the wineries best suited to your taste, time frame, and location.
Originating in Spain, the Vermentino grapes reached Sardinia at the end of the 19th century by way of Corsica. They thrive in the rocky and sandy soil of the Galluria area in northeastern Sardinia, where the dry white Vermentino wines have achieved DOCG status for their outstanding quality and characteristic bouquet. You might start your journey at Cantina Gallura, or focus on the island’s biggest wine producer, Sella & Mosca.
Little known overseas because it’s best drunk within the year, Lambrusco is an unusual, lightly bubbly red produced in the provinces of Modena, Reggio Emilia, and – further north in Lombardy – Mantua. You may not be familiar with the wine, but any gourmet will know the Modenese balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico), obtained from the local Trebbiano (white) and Lambrusco (red) grapes. Winery open for visits: Vini Casolari (www.vinicasolari.it).
The hilltop town of Montalcino, just off the ancient Cassia road on the way south to Rome from Siena, is synonymous with Brunello, one of Italy's most celebrated DOCG reds. Sample different labels at the well-stocked enoteca inside the historic fortezza, or choose from dozens of estates that open their doors and let you sample their wares. Check the Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino website to find the wineries best suited to your taste, time frame, and location.
Home to some of Italy's most celebrated appellations including Barbera, Barolo, and Barbaresco as well as Dolcetto d'Alba, the misty Langhe hills are where the Nebbiolo grapes thrive (“nebbia” meaning fog or mist in Italian). The area has also a reputation for excellent white truffles. Start at the visitor information center in Barolo, which includes a museum and a wine shop featuring the best wines from the region’s estates.
Treviso and Surroundings
Half an hour's drive north from Venice is the cobblestone-and-canal-laced town of Treviso, the provincial capital of Italy’s prosecco region. The neatly-groomed prosecco DOC vineyards occupy the gentle slopes between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the Veneto hills north of the town. Available in three different types – still, lightly bubbly, and sparkling – prosecco is especially popular as an aperitif or festive wine.
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