We’ll be honest. It’s hard to go anywhere in Italy without tasting some of the best wine in the world. Italy is home to 355 native grape varieties and some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the whole world. At least some form of wine is made in each of Italy’s 20 regions. This makes the country the perfect destination for any LGBTQ+ traveler interested in wine tasting. But where to start? Let’s break it down to basics. Here are three classic wine regions of Italy.
The next time you visit Tuscany’s major cities like Florence, Siena, or Pisa, make it a point to spend some time traveling to Chianti, where winemakers produce the famous Chianti Classico, as well as beloved Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano bottles. Sangiovese, a red wine grape that’s indigenous to the Tuscany region, is the dominant grape found in Chianti. The blend can be cellared for five to ten years and beyond, depending on its quality level and the winemaker. As for tasting notes, you’ll typically find fresh, red fruit flavors with a touch of spiciness.
At the foot of the Western Alps sits the region of Piedmont (meaning “At the foot of the mountains”), where the mountain range surrounds its northern and western sides and forms a natural border with Provence, France. To its southeast is the top end of the Apennine Mountains range, which separate Piedmont from Liguria and the Mediterranean. These low coastal hills divide Piedmont from its long, thin neighbor Liguria, and the Mediterranean beyond. This unique geographical position has allowed Piedmont to have a distinct history and wine viticulture unlike anywhere else. Most notably made in the region are Nebbiolo, known for their “tar and roses” nose. Also widely known here is the Barbera recognizable by its tart, sour cherry complex reds with frank acidity.
Sparkling wine lovers will for sure want to visit Veneto, Italy’s region that provides it’s vast production of Prosecco. Because of its position in the northeast corner of Italy, Veneto is known for a style that represents a transition between the alpine, Germano-Slavic end of Italy and the warmer, drier, more Roman lands to the south. In the northeast corner of the region, on either side of the Piave river is where they make sparkling Prosecco. Producers also make a variety of still wines there, but what most of these producers have in common is their use of the Glera grape, typically known as Prosecco, and the foaming spumante and semi-sparkling frizzante wines it creates.
And that’s just the start. There are so many more wine-famous regions in Italy, that any serious LGBTQ+ wine lover would do well to spend time researching well beyond this list. You’ll have so much to explore.