Hidden Menu

  • Southwest France Wine Tour (Oct 2016)
  • Rioja Wine Tour (tba)
  • Jura Wine Tour (Oct. 2017)
  • Tuscany Wine Tour (May 2019)
  • Burgundy Wine Tour (June 2019 - FULL)
  • Champagne Wine Tour (June 2019 - FULL)
  • Home
  • Reservation Form
  • Reservation Form Special
  • My Membership
  • Webinar-Evaluation
  • Notify me when Flash Player bug is fixed
  • Our Recent Top Exam Scorers
  • Private Trips Reservation Form
  • Guest membership
  • Top Exam Scorer
  • 3-Month Guest Membership
  • Latest newsletter
  • Latest News Archive
  • Newsletter Signup
  • Application Submission Form
  • Free 6 Month Membership
  • Thank you for your submission
  • Acymailing Modify Subscription
  • Update Newsletter Profile
  • Preferences saved
  • Italian Wine Scholar - Unit 1 - Study Manual
  • IWS test page
  • Membership for Wine Educators
  • Loire Valley Pronuncitation Module
  • Self-Enrollment in FWS v5.2
  • FWS V6 Upgrade
  • chronoform users-edit
  • Private trips
  • Cru Artisan College 2017
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | Independent Study Format
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Private trips
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format UPGRADE
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format UPGRADE (from previous versions)
  • wine study and tasting groups faq
  • Italian Wine Scholar™ Unit 1 online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Italian Wine Scholar™
  • Italian Wine Scholar™ Unit 2 online | 15-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Rhône Wine Tour (June 2018)
  • Champagne Master-Level - Excerpt 1
  • Champagne Master-Level - Excerpts 2
  • Louis Roederer Scholarship for the Champagne Master-Level Program
  • Laurent Perrier Scholarship for Guild of Sommeliers Members
  • Champagne ML Preview
  • Reservation form for Bourgogne intensive
  • Tuscany (May 2019)
  • Thanks for your submission
  • Search FAQs
  • Wine Tasting
  • Membership Demo
  • Certified Sherry Wine Specialist VIP pre-launch
  • Buy Tasting Lab Credits
  • Replacement Pins
  • Winetasting - Home2
  • Reservation form for Bourgogne intensive Fall 2022
  • School Management
  • Register Menu


    Saturday, 12 June 2021 00:00

    The Ten Best Italian Red Wines: A Beginner’s Guide

    Written by
    Rate this item
    (57 votes)

    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.

    Many of Italy's best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, often combined with the grape variety. If you've ever felt wholly 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.

    Three Italian red wines to buy for special occasions

    1. Barolo & Barbaresco

    Piedmont's Barolo is undoubtedly the king of Italian red wines. Made from Nebbiolo, the wines of this small appellation in Italy's northwest are among the most ageable. Whether it is saved for next year, five years, ten, or twenty years, this is one Italian red that showcases the benefits of aging wine.

    Also, a Piedmontese wine made with Nebbiolo, Barbaresco is the queen of Barolo's' king. Renowned for finesse and perfume, the wines of Barbaresco are among Italy's best.

    2. Brunello

    Brunello di Montalcino is the king of wines made with Sangiovese. This Tuscan red wine comes from the local name for Sangiovese (Brunello) and Montalcino, a small medieval hill town overlooking the Tuscan countryside. These are complex wines with incredible aging potential.

    3. Amarone

    Amarone is a potent and concentrated dry red wine made with dried grapes in Italy's Veneto region. Made from native Italian grapes, Amarone is a wine that dazzles and impresses.

    Three Italian red wines to buy for next year

    4. Gattinara

    Gattinara is a delicious and often overlooked Nebbiolo-based wine from Piedmont. Perfect with stews and braises, these are the wines to drink while waiting for Barolo and Barbaresco to mature.

    5. Rosso di Montalcino

    Rosso di Montalcino is often referred to as “baby Brunello.” Made with Sangiovese grown in the same area, this wine is released to market the year after harvest, while Brunello continues to slumber in winemakers' cellars.

    6. Chianti Classico

    Chianti Classico refers to this iconic Italian red wine's classic, historic growing area. Produced with slightly stricter regulations than regular Chianti, these wines pair easily with a multitude of meals.

    Two Italian red wines to buy for next week

    7. Barbera d'Asti'

    The Italian red grape Barbera makes delicious wines with bright acidity and soft tannin. Hailing from Piedmont, these delightful red wines are crowd-pleasers.

    8. Dolcetto d'Alba'

    Dolcetto is another red wine from Piedmont. With more noticeable tannin than Barbera, but not as much as Nebbiolo, wines from Dolcetto strike a nice balance.

    Two Italian red wines to buy for tonight

    9. Lambrusco

    Ask your local wine merchant for a dry Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna to pair with your next antipasti. Slightly fizzy with a pleasing bitterness, these red wines are delicious on a hot summer day.

    10. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

    Montepulciano is Abruzzo’s answer to Piedmont’s Barbera. Showcasing juicy, grapey flavors with soft, supple tannin, this is Italy’s quintessential pizza wine. Be sure not to confuse the grape Montepulciano with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is a Sangiovese-based wine made near the town of Montepulciano.


    Receive your FREE chapter!

    Kirra Barnes

    Wine educator, writer and editorial assistant for the Wine Scholar Guild.


    • Comment Link Suzanne Cerny Thursday, 31 October 2019 23:19 posted by Suzanne Cerny

      Probably Sangiocvese. I like it a lot and Trader Joes has it in San Francisco, California.

    • Comment Link Tony Landrum Tuesday, 29 May 2018 23:54 posted by Tony Landrum

      I was in Italy and had a red wine at a friends home. It was a red that they bought for everyday drinking. He said most Italians drink this wine for everyday use. It was very smooth. Almost no acid, tannin taste. Probably long shot but do you have any idea what wines this might have been

    Sign up to receive our latest updates