Major Italian White Wines
Part of the Italian Wine For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Italian white wines come in varieties that run from sparkling and sweet to smooth and fruity to crisp and dry. The following list describes each of the major Italian white whites:
Asti: Sparkling wine made from Moscato grapes around Asti, in Piedmont. Deliciously sweet, low in alcohol, with pronounced fruity and floral flavors. Usually non-vintage, but freshness and youth are essential to its quality.
Frascati: From the Frascati area, south of Rome, and mainly Trebbiano grapes. Dry or slightly off-dry, light-bodied, and un-oaked with crisp acidity and subdued flavor.
Gavi: Dry, medium-bodied wine from Cortese grapes in the Gavi area of Piedmont. Typically crisp and un-oaked (sometimes slightly oaky) with delicate notes of honey, apples, and minerals.
Orvieto: A generally medium-bodied wine made mainly from Grechetto grapes around Orvieto, in the Umbria region. Dry, crisp, with flavors of pear and apple and a pleasantly bitter finish.
Pinot Grigio: Generally light-bodied, dry, and crisp, with subdued aromas and flavors and no oakiness. Made from Pinot Gris grapes, usually in Northeastern Italy. Wines from Collio or Alto-Adige DOCs (controlled origin denomination) are usually the best.
Soave: From the Soave zone in the Veneto region, made mainly from Garganega grapes. Generally dry, crisp, un-oaked, and light- or medium-bodied, with subdued flavors of pear, apple, or peach.
Verdicchio: Dry, medium-bodied, crisp white with minerally flavor and a sea-air freshness. From Verdicchio grapes in the Marche region.