Italy’s wealth of grape varieties presents wine connoisseurs with many tantalizing prospects, particularly on the red wine spectrum. While Sangiovese and Nebbiolo still reign supreme, numerous grape varieties have re-emerged from hiding in recent years to spellbind wine lovers around the world. In Italy, the story of how some of these grapes transitioned from obscurity to fashionably cool can be just as compelling as the wines themselves. In many cases, the wines from these grapes are shining in a way they never have before, thanks to more informed decisions in the vineyard and winery.
Here are five up-and-coming Italian red grapes to pay attention to. While all of these grapes have been around for centuries, their resurgence has meant a quality revolution and increased interest from the international marketplace.
The best way to make sense of Italian red wines is to simply start tasting them. Italy offers the perfect red wine for every occasion—from pizza on Monday, to roast beef with the in-laws on Sunday, and everything between.
Many of Italy’s best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, often in combination with the grape variety. If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed while browsing an Italian wine section, knowing just a few key wine names will help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the perfect wine to drink at a moment’s notice.
Friuli Grave DOC
Friuli Grave was previously called Grave del Friuli but is often simply referred to as Grave. This is the largest DOC, both in terms of area under vine and in production. It accounts for more than one-third of Friuli’s total wine production.