Looking for some delicious and lesser-known Italian red wines to enjoy as the weather gets cooler?
Here are five highly drinkable Italian red wines made with native Italian grapes.
Nero Buono has become a favorite and frequent table wine of mine. Grown in volcanic soil in the hilltop town of Cori in central Italy, the grapes produce light to medium-bodied wines with juicy black fruit and herbal aromas. Quality Nero Buono wines can also be affordable. Eataly in Rome sells some bottles for around 10 dollars or less. Marco Carpineti is a top producer. I also enjoy the wines from Cincinnato, especially the Ercole.
Nerello Mascalese wines have aromas of tobacco and mineral and have been said to have a pinot noir-esque quality. The area where the grapes are grown on the Sicilian volcano, Mount Etna, has even been called Italy’s Burgundy as different sections can produce such distinct wines. Nerello Mascalese is used in the famous Etna Rosso blends along with Nerello Cappuccio. Nerello Mascalese provides the tannins and Nerello Cappuccio the color. Etna Rosso blends tend to be rich in aromas of tobacco, herbs, minerals, and sour red cherry.
Well-made Cesanese wines are creamy and rich and pair ripe red cherry flavors with rose petals and delicate spice aromas, including cinnamon and white pepper. The grapes are primarily grown in Lazio, but also in nearby Tuscany and Umbria, and in Sicily. I like the Cesanese del Piglio wines from Casale della Ioria, as well as the Cesanese di Olevano Romano wines from Damiano Ciolli.
Canaiolo Nero wines are light to medium-bodied with red berry and floral aromas. Synonymous with Tuscany, the grape shows up in famous Sangiovese blends, including Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Several natural wine producers in nearby Lake Bolsena in Lazio are experimenting with it. There is also a Cannaiola di Marta from the lake’s shores that is slightly sweet and made from air-dried grapes. Cane means dog in Italian. Some speculate the name comes from the dog days of August when the variety changes color. It could also be named after the dog rose which good examples of the wine can bring forth aromas of.
Dolcetto wines are fresh and fruity medium-bodied wines with bright acidity that pair well with food. Although the grape is used to make 11 different wines in Piedmont with a lot of variety. The styles range from floral and fresh to more fuller bodied. While dolce means sweet in Italian, dolcetto wines are always dry. The name comes from the sweet grapes and not the wine itself. The town of Dogliani notably takes Dolcetto seriously, reserving the best sites for the grape. Dolcetto di Dogliani wines are often perfumed and floral.
What will you be drinking this fall?