High end Italian wines range in quality designations, from good to superior. With over 2000 native grape varieties covering varied terrain, growing in forgiving climates and all packed on one outstanding peninsula, you can imagine that the resulting wine combinations would be just as diverse as the sub-cultures that surround them.
Super-Tuscans, comprised of mostly Sangiovese, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah, typically quantify quality, and are thus on the upper end of the price spectrum (ranging from $25 - $100+). Due to unique blends and varied growing terroirs , Super-Tuscans cannot be easily pinned to one style or stereotype. Super-Tuscan producers to scout for include: Viticcio , Antinori , and Tenuta dell'Ornellaia.
Barolo and Barbaresco Wines
Good Barolo and Barbaresco wines, derived from the noble Nebbiolo grape are typicaly reserved for Sunday dinners or celebrations. These wines can range in price from $35 - $100+ depending on the vintage and producer.
The vast majority of Amarone wines come from the Valpolicella area, in Italy's northeast corner. They are typically considered one of Italy's big, bold red wines, Amarone has fruit-forward flavors of cherry, raisins, plums and spice. They are made from grapes that have been partially dried and historically have had higher alcohol contents (14-16% range). Top Amarone producers to consider are: Masi, Speri, and Allegrini.
As for better quality Italian white wines, often Pinot Grigio comes to mind. For Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige has it going on. Deeply aromatic, vivid white wines with flavor and presence - Try one of the Top 20 Pinot Grigios from Alto Adige, the white wine for summer sipping. Consider Elena Walch, J. Hofstatter, Santa Margherita and Weingut Niklas for some stellar Pinot Grigio finds.
Whether you are looking to expand your wine horizons or just hoping to grab a good Chianti with dinner, Italian wines are a cornerstone of today's wide world of wine.