Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Apr 26, 2007 10:55 AM

Italian wine recommendations? (moved from Italy)

I realize that's kind of a broad topic, but I'm hoping for some wines to look for while in Rome that would could be characterized as BOLD, RED, FRUITY AND/OR SPICY, definitely not DRY. We love Cabs, Syrahs, Shiraz, Merlots ... some of my favorites include Penfolds, Clo Du Bois, Far Niente

If you've got a favorite that's in the same ballpark as the above...would love to compile a listing to take with me...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Two possibilities: Amarone, from the Veneto (Definitely bold and fruity.) and Sagrantino from Umbria. (Also very big. Distincitive with a slightly old-fashioned, rustic style that fairly shouts "Italian wine.")

    Having made these two recommendations, I haven't got a clue how these compare with the specific vineyards you listed. If you haven't posted this question on the wine board, I suggest you do so.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Indy 67

      i'll second the sagrantino. the 1999 paolo bea is a favorite. i purchased a case a few months after deb and i attended a wine class at batali's "italian wine merchants." joe bastianich and david lynch were the hosts.

      lots of good wine bars in rome. check out trimani wine bar near the train station (stazione termini). it's attached to their outstanding wine store. you can taste a lot of good stuff for very reasonable money.

    2. I saw this on the Wine Spectator free forum and thought it was interesting:

      Posted April 18, 2007
      Hey MAV, I just put my hands on two unbelievable Merlots today, They are the same SUPER TUSCANs, just different vintages:

      2003 FATTORIA PETROLO, TOSCANA GALATRONA (100% Merlot) $70 bucks for me, rated 96 by JSuckling

      2004 FATTORIA PETROLO, TOSCANA GALATRONA ( 100% Merlot) and $80, rated 97 by JS

      1 Reply
      1. re: BN1

        The 2003 "Galatrona" I listed above received the 2 red glass rating in the Gambero Rossa wine guide. The JSuckling rating of 96 should be the equilivent of 3 red glasses (top rating), so there is a difference of opinion. I believe, the Gambero Rossa favors the "old world" style wines, which are less fruit forward. In Italy, this wine would cost way less than the $70 in the US. The 2004 Falesco "Vitiano" referenced by obob96 below also received a 2 red glass rating. It is generally available in US wine stores for $8 or $9. Therefore, you could sample what you may encounter in Italy cheaply before you go. I suggest getting the English version of the Gambero Rossa guide, which including a price range, rates most of the better wines in Italy. It is fun to drink the local house wines, but is really fun to drink the highest rated Italian wines at prices you will never find in the US. There are so many choices available, buying the guide would seem to best way to get a list you desired of the better choices.

      2. Try some of these. 2005 vintage was incredible. I would also include Pierdirosso (red)and Coda di volpe (white)


        -Taurasi has an intense ruby color, which with age tends to show garnet hues and/or amber reflections. Tasting notes may include hints of cherry, wild berries, tobacco, liquorice, oak, tar, and black pepper. It’s best served with red meat, wild game, and mature cheeses, such as caciocavallo (provolone) or parmigiano.

        -Aglianico is dense ruby red, sometimes with violet hues. Toasted almonds, wild berries, nutmeg, plum, spicy cloves are some of the aromas and flavors that may come to mind when drinking this ancient varietal. The aromas and flavors always depend on the location and the wine producer’s vision. Great with pasta, white and red meat, soups, and antipasti.


        -Greco di Tufo tends to be straw yellow in color with a bit of gold tints. Various fruits contribute to the taste of Greco di Tufo, but this doesn't mean it’s sweet! Apples, white peaches, apricots, and local citrus fruits are blended together give the wine its unique taste. Greco di Tufo can be paired with shellfish, grilled fish and chicken, soft cheeses (mozzarella di bufala).

        -Falanghina is pale, bright yellow. Falanghina is an excellent beginning to dinner with antipasti. It’s light, fresh, and clean. Local annurca apples are the key aroma along with hints of nutmeg and maybe a bit of toasted Virginia tobacco. Serve with seafood, vegetables, risotto, carpaccio, chicken, turkey, and soft cheeses.

        -Fiano di Avellino's medium gold appearance is telling of the toasted hazelnuts, almonds, and honey that highlight its fabulous taste. Native flowers, pears, apricots, and citrus fruits may be detected along with acacia (native tropical trees), hawthorn (native thorny trees or shrubs), mint, and fennel. An ideal aperitif when served with seafood, oysters, and shellfish.

        1. I love wines made with the Nebbiolo grape - it must be related to pinot noir, since it shares some sensory characteristics. Barbaresco, Gattinara, Nebbiolo d'Alba, etc. But you are in Rome not northern italy, so Nebbiolos will not be so common.. There are a lot of fresh delicious italian reds (some of the southern ones suggested by Campania below) and others you will never see in US. Find out how to ask for "fruity" wines or just accept recommendations - wine is cheap in Italy.

          Most wine served in Italy is the wine of the region, and in rome, the wine of the region is white (Castelli Romani). The better restaurants will have a list and broader range of regional and national, even international wines. The local red in rome is mostly not so hot. Do note, though, that the house red served by Sora Margherita is very, very tasty.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jen kalb

            For roughly regional drinking (Lazio, Umbria, Abruzzo), a good Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria), a Cesanese-based red from Lazio, or one of the merlot/cab/syrah ventures from growers like Falesco, based in Montefiascone (Lazio) (Vitiano, Tellus, and others, some 100% merlot, others blends, all fruit forward). You might try an estate Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Illuminati's Zanna or Riparossa are excellent), a little less fruit forward but still warm and spicy.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I should note that the Sora Margherita house red I mentioned is from the Colli Romani and is bottled. Most of the red carafe wine in Rome is barely drinkable.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Agreed, though the whites can be pleasant and safe.

              2. re: jen kalb

                I fully agree with. I think the white wine coming from the region in the nearest of Rome, is one of the most tasty and delicius white wine I ever tested. I have been there several time, and I like the food, the tradition and the wine, at the price you can drink it there, is fantastic. I had also a nice stay there, supported by They have several B&B, farm holiday and apartement, they can help you to find the warmest hospitality for you in that special area, like Frascati, Castel Gandolfo, Nemi, Velletri etc...

              3. There are numerous wine bars (enotecas) in Rome where you can sample a variety of wines by the glass or half-glass. It might be an enjoyable experience to do so some afternoon when you arrive in Rome. Ask to sample 3 or 4 wines from a variety of regions in Italy and see if you discover something you like. I would also talk with a wine merchant knowledgeable in Italian wines here in the US before you leave.

                1 Reply
                1. re: DavidT

                  Frescobaldi opened a wine bar at the Rome airport though it is in the departure area.