Taken from Invaluable - Wine Regions of the World
The wine regions of Italy are renowned the world over for the caliber and variety of wine they produce. The country is divided by county, each of which align neatly with a wine region. The list below explains more about the regions included in the map above, briefly describing each region, listing popular grapes and offering suggested vineyards.
Halfway up the boot on the eastern coast of Italy is the Abruzzo region. As one of Italy’s poorer regions, wine production dipped for centuries but has seen a rise in the last 50 years thanks to cooperative wineries and importers such as Germany and the U.S.
Grapes: Montepulciano, Trebbiano, and Pecorino
Vineyard recommendation: Emidio Pepe Wines
Located in the northwest corner of Italy, the Aosta Valley is surrounded by the Alps and full of the highest elevated vineyards of Europe. This region is the smallest geographically and produces mostly red wines.
Grapes: Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Picotendro
Vineyard recommendation: Château Feuillet
On the boot of Italy, is the long wine region of Apulia. This area is noted for its olive production as well as its grapes. Known for its reds, Apulia recently had to change from cheap blends following the success of new wine regions like Australia and Chile.
Grapes: Primitivo, Negroamaro, and Malvasia
Vineyard recommendation: Gianfranco Fino
Basilicata is a small area in the southern part of Italy that is just building a reputation in the modern wine-making world. The DOC Aglianico del Vulture is gaining momentum as a full bodied red and has been named one of Italy’s greatest wines.
Grapes: Aglianico, Moscato, and Malvasia
Vineyard recommendation: Cantine del Notaio
Calabria is in the southeastern tip of Italy, only a channel strait away from Sicily. Calabria’s wine production took several hits in the 19th century. First by an epidemic of phylloxera, then by the expansion of increasingly popular French wines, and then by the New World of wine production in the Americas and elsewhere today.
Grapes: Gaglioppo, Greco di Bianco, and Mantonico Bianco
Vineyard recommendation: Librandi
On the lower, western half of the boot lies Campania and its capital city, Naples. This is one of Italy’s oldest wine regions famed for the Aglianico and Greco grapes. Because of its long history, it has many ancient grape varietals which cannot be found elsewhere.
Grapes: Aglianico, Falanghina, and Greco Bianco
Vineyard recommendation: Galardi
As one of Italy’s most fertile and prolific wine regions, it is one of the few to span across the country with both an east and a west coast. Red and white wine comprise an almost equal amount of production and sparkling is popular as well.
Grapes: Sangiovese, Malvasia, and Lambrusco
Vineyard recommendation: Fattoria Zerbina
The northeastern tip of Italy stands out for white wine from non-traditional grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Quintessentially Italian varieties such as Pinot Grigio are popular in the area too.
Grapes: Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Friulano
Vineyard recommendation: Jermann
Lazio is home to the Italian capital city, Rome. There was a dark period of wine production between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the renaming of Rome as the capital in 1870. The volcanic soil is particularly well-suited for white grapes.
Grapes: Malvasia, Trebbiano, and Merlot
Vineyard recommendation: Falesco
The Liguria region is home to the popular Cinque Terre coastal towns. The area in the northwest along the Italian Riviera specializes in light, white wines as well as red wines further west.
Grapes: Vermentino, Pigato, and Rossese
Vineyard recommendation: Barone Ricasoli
In north central Italy, the Lombardy wine region is known for sparkling wines. The Milanese area is landlocked and home to beautiful lakes and mountains. Because of the diversity of microclimates, the area produces a wide array of varietals.
Grapes: Valtellina and Franciacorta
Vineyard recommendation: Nino Negri
Situated on the mid-eastern coast, Marche is bordered by the Adriatic sea on the east and mountains on the west. Many different cultures influenced the wine-making of this port-heavy region, resulting in a variety of traditions and styles.
Grapes: Verdicchio, Montepulciano, and Sangiovese
Vineyard recommendation: Oasi degli Angeli
Only awarded its own denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) in the latter half of the 20th century, Molise is still a rather obscure wine-making region. Popularity is growing for reds and white blends produced in the area.
Grapes: Montepulciano, Sangiovese, and Pinot Grigio
Vineyard recommendation: Di Majo Norante
The Piedmont region is popular for red wines with polished tannins and sweet, sparkling wines. Because of its location in the foothills, there is heavy fog in the area. The Piedmontese word for fog, “nebbia,” inspired the name of the Nebbiolo grape, popular in the area.
Grapes: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Moscato d’Asti
Vineyard recommendation: Paolo Manzone
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and is located 150 miles off the west coast of Italy. Various empires have taken over Sardinia over the course of centuries, which has created a diverse blend of architecture, place names and dialect, as well as a diverse array of grapes.
Grapes: Grenache, Vermentino, and Carignan
Vineyard recommendation: Argiolas
Off of the southern tip of Italy is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily. The classic Mediterranean climate of Sicily is ideal for grape production. While the winemakers briefly switched to low-quality vines, the process is now set to return to the high-quality Sicilian wine of the past.
Grapes: Nero d’Avola, Catarratto, and Nerello Mascalese
Vineyard recommendation: Donnafugata
Thanks to the romantic, rolling hills, Tuscany is the most famous of all Italian wine regions. This reputation is well-deserved thanks to world-class reds including Chianti and Montepulciano.
Grapes: Sangiovese, Chianti, and Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard recommendation: Ornellaia
Located on the border with Austria, South Tyrol is known for its heavy Austrian influences due to the long rule of the Austria-Hungary empire. The Mediterranean climate creates versatility in winemaking.
Grapes: Lagrein, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
Vineyard recommendation: Cantina Terlan
Umbria is just south of Tuscany in the center of the country. This is the only wine region in Italy that is both completely landlocked and borders no foreign country. Like the other central regions, Umbria is known for its white wine.
Grapes: Sagrantino, Orvieto, and Trebbiano
Vineyard recommendation: Castello della Sala
Home to Venice, this productive region has been out developing powerhouses like Tuscany, Apulia, and Sicily since the 1990s. Veneto’s recent success is due in large part to recognition for increasingly popular wines like Valpolicella, Amarone, and Prosecco.
Grapes: Valpolicella, Amarone, and Prosecco
Vineyard recommendation: Romano Dal Forno