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Top 10 Italian Wines to Try

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Interested in trying Italian wines, but not sure how to read the labels, determine the DOC or figure out who makes what, where? Look no further, here are ten diverse Italian wines spanning the top Italian wine regions at a variety of price points to get you started.

1. Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti 2012 (Tuscany, Italy) $12

Frescobaldi

Italians enjoy a long legacy of love, from Verona's Romeo and Juliet to Venice's famed Casanova, there's no doubt that they've got it going on when it comes to amore!

Full of Sangiovese's fresh florals, plum mixed with red cherry flavor and good bit of warm spice, this medium-bodied wine enjoys balance and well-woven tannins. At a mere $12 a pop and enjoying wide distribution, this particular wine from Tuscany is a winner with aged cheese (think Parmesan), tomato-based sauces and a variety of sausages.

2. La Marca Prosecco NV (Veneto, Italy) $15

La Marca Prosecco

Everybody loves a good bottle of Prosecco and La Marca enjoys plenty of fans these days.  With easy going bubbles, sweet citrus fruit, and delicate floral aromas, it's no wonder that this is a very popular Prosecco. 

Clean lines, lively acidity, food pairing versatility, a fair price and solid distribution, all work together to give the La Marca Prosecco a definitive market edge.  Give it a go with a variety of fun appetizers, sweet and savory favorites, hot wings, chips and dips, shrimp cocktail, and baked brie.

3. Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 (Chianti) $20

Castello di Monsanto
Well made, well priced and ready to rumble with lovely floral aromatics, bright cherry fruit and unmistakable tobacco spice. This Tuscan beauty is easy to buy, easy to drink and undeniably Italian in character. A sure shot with tomato-based pasta, prosciutto and Italian cheeses.

4. Stella Pinot Grigio 2013 (Umbria, Italy) $10

Stella Pinot Grigio
A lively, 100% Pinot Grigio with clean, crisp flavors of citrus fruits. Imported by WineBow and sold at a very reasonable $10 per bottle, pair this popular Pinot Grigio with a spicy stir fry, cream sauce dishes, or a well-seasoned fish dish.

5. Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2013 (Piedmont, Italy) $15

Saracco
This wine hails from the Asti DOCG in Italy's famed Piedmont region. Derived from 100% Muscat grapes - this is a fresh, inviting sparkler capable of handling an ultra rich cheese-cake or going solo as an afternoon apertif. Let the aromas of honeysuckle and the flavors of ripe peaches and a splash of candied pear dazzle amidst the light sparkle of this authentic Moscato. While, probably not the first choice for a wine to accompany a rich chocolate dessert, it is certainly up for the challenge of cream-based desserts or fresh fruit sorbets. With a low alcohol content (5.5% abv) and sweet flavors resulting from the natural residual sugars, this wine is as refreshing as it is easily attainable.

6. Damilano Barolo Cannubi 2008 (Piedmont, Italy) $75

Damilano
A stunning, single vineyard Barolo, as always built on the Nebbiolo grape, expect this wine to engage your senses from expressive aromatic start to well-developed finish. Cherry, black licorice, tobacco leaves, and mocha notes all swirl together in a heady mix of foundational, terroir-driven fruit and oak-induced spice supported by supple tannins and gorgeous balance. A well calibrated dance of both power and elegance make this particular Barolo an incredible delight and one that will manage well with local fare including white truffle themes, braised game, grilled beef and roasted lamb shanks. 

7. Beni di Batasiolo Barbaresco 2010 (Piedmont, Italy) $40

Beni di Batasiolo

Looking for a rich, red wine from Piedmont, but don't have the time (or cash) to wait on the region's famed Barolo to mature?  Then check out this classic, well-made and well-priced 2010 Barbaresco from Beni Di Batasiolo, an Italian winery under the Boisset Family Estate umbrella, crafted from the famed Nebbiolo grape - maker of both Barolo and Barbaresco wine. Expect floral rose notes and black licorice to dominate the aromas with an earthy backdrop and subtle fruit.

On the palate, black cherry, plum and sweet spice play an intense game of hide and seek with the tightly woven tannins. Power and purpose steer this wine from first sip to persistent finish.  Made for meat, this wine will shine when partnered with braised game, bollito misto, regionally cured meats, along with the seasonally-inspired treats of truffles and more.

While perfectly capable of offering up delicious delight right now, patience will pay off, as this muscular red would enjoy another 5-7 years of cellar time development to tame the tannins and showcase the layers of concentration.

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8. Luce Della Vite Lucente 2011 (Tuscany, Italy) $30

Luce Della Vite Winery

If you are looking for a solid Tuscan wine at a  reasonable price point, then the Luce della Vite Lucente may just be what you are looking for.  While not dominated by the expected Sangiovese grape, this wine brings 75% Merlot, 25% Sangiovese making for a soft, graceful blend of grapes. 

On the nose, you'll find dark cherry, plum, dark chocolate and a smidge of espresso.  The palate profile dives deeper into the dark fruit, exposing stronger remnants of cherry and blackberry, mixed with black pepper and delicious acidity.  The tannins are intact and play a vital role in supporting both the fruit and acidity, leaving ample room for an elegant finish to both develop and flourish.

9. Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2009 (Tuscany, Italy) $65

Frescobaldi
Frescobaldi's CastelGiocondo's Brunello is a stunning example of what Tuscany's Montalcino region is known and loved for, year in and year out. This Brunello has enjoyed basking in oak for 3 years and affords consumers a wine with excellent aging potential. First glance reveals a deep ruby color in the glass, and the nose carries robust ripe fruit - dominated by dark cherry and plum surrounded by violet floral tones. The palate profile yields a full-bodied red wine with dense fruit character bordered by a spicy edge (complete with clove, cinnamon, and tobacco), a well-honed tannin structure and a rich enduring finish. 

10. Pieropan Soave 2012 (Veneto, Italy) $16

Made from Veneto's Garganega grape, this particular Pieropan Soave is a white wine that brings a refreshing slice of pear and citrus to the palate with mineral-driven character and bright, well balanced acidity. Intended to drink young, Soave can surprise with its willingness to age well. 
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