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5 Top Grapes Behind Italian White Wines

Italy is one of the few countries that look even better in real life than it does in pictures, or on the silver screen, and their wine is no different.

Incredibly, Italy is actually the birthplace of over 25 percent of the world’s fine wine grape varieties.

Let’s have a look at the grapes behind this historic, and inspirational country’s white wine.

1. Cortese

Found in Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, wines made from Cortese often have the sweet flavors of apples, honeydew melons, and peaches, and feature a refreshing acidity.

These wines are known to offer aromas of wet stones, grass, and white flowers.

For the best white wines made from Cortese grapes look for Gavi di Gavi, and Gavi di Tassarolo.

2. Verdicchio

Named after the grape’s greenish hue, Verdicchio has thrived in the central region of Marche since the fourteenth century.

The best wines made from Verdicchio feature ripe grapefruit flavors, with aromas of lemons, rich marzipan, and almond, which adds a pleasant bitter twist to its flavors.

If you’re looking for the best Verdicchio wines, try Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, and Verdicchio di Matelica.

3. Fiano

Fiano is native to the southwest region of Campania. Fiano wines are known for tropical fruit flavors, and exotic aromas. Expect flavors like pineapple, paired with aromas of spices, honey, and nuts.

To get a sense of how charming Fiano can be, pick up a wine designated Fiano di Avellino, or Sannio Fiano.

4. Carricante

As a grape, Carricante spent the last thousand years adapting (and thriving) to one specific environment: the craggy, otherworldly hillsides of the Mt. Etna volcano.

Carricante is often blended with other local white grapes, and in some cases barrel aged to help reduce its acidity. Expect citrusy and acidic “pop” along with notes of aniseed, flowers, mint, and – after aging – aromas of saline.

If you love a white wine with a citrusy acidic taste, try Etna Bianco, and Etna Bianco Superiore.

5. Zibibbo

Zibibbo (also known as Muscat of Alexandria), is one of the most primordial wine grape varieties still used to make fine wine, and is the parent of at least fourteen other important varieties.

Zibibbo is native to the island of Pantelleria, off the coast of Sicily. The dry wines made from these grapes have a vibrant and flora taste, while the sweet wines are rich and honeyed, with notes of spices, caramel, white flowers, and orange peel.

If you’re looking for a wine that can be a desert on its own, look for Passito di Pantelleria, but if you’re after a dry white, Moscato di Pantelleria has a fantastic floral and vibrant taste.


By: Julien Miquel

(Grabbed from:

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