There are 21 varieties of red grape wine that come out of all areas of Italy. The mountainous region of Piedmont in northern Italy boasts "crisp, austere" wines while Italy's central region produces "full-bodied, bold" wines, according to the Life In Italy website. Southern Italy wineries also produce bold, full-bodied wines and have been doing so for over 4,000 years. About 60 percent of the wine produced in Italy is red.
Chianti wine is produced from the Sangiovese grape in Tuscany in central Italy. Wines must contain at least 80 to 100 percent Sangiovese grapes to wear the Chianti label. It is one of the most well known Italian wines and has a soured cherry and tobacco flavor. The quality of Chianti can vary and as a result, it sometimes has a very acidic taste. There are seven different categories of Chianti, but the most important are Classico and Rufina -- the two districts where the wines are produced. Chianti Classico was the first Chianti wine and its reliable fruity and acidic taste makes it an excellent pairing for pasta with marinara or other red sauce, chicken cutlets, salami sandwiches -- a Tuscan staple -- and pizza.
Amarone wine is the fourth highest-selling wine in Italy after Chianti, Asti and Soave wines, according to the Wine Intro website. It is produced in the Venitian region of Italy and is a dry wine with a full body. Amorone has flavors of licorice, tobacco and fig. It is often paired with game and ripe cheese. Amarone is made with grapes that have been dried on racks to bring out the flavor. It is a wine that can be "drunk young" while still a ruby purple color, but is also enjoyed aged for 30 years or more -- to a dark garnet color. The typical drinking age for this wine is 10 years and is best served at a temperature of 60 degrees F.
Barbaresco is a red wine similar to Barolo and both are produced in the Piedmont area of Italy and made from the nebbiolo grape. Described as "elegant and aromatic" by Wine Intro, it is often paired with grilled meats. While Barolo wines have been in existence for centuries, the Barbaresco heritage is only a few hundred years old. Barbaresco is aged in wood and is served at five to 10 years of age. Serving temperature is 60 degrees F.
Lambrusco is a "long lived grape" originally enjoyed by the Romans during the Roman Empire, according to Wine Intro. It is fruity, fizzy and sweet in taste and comes in dry and sparkling forms. It is best paired with cold cuts, grilled vegetables and Tuscan-style barbecue chicken. A characteristically light wine, it also has floral overtones of violet and heather and is slightly acidic.
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