Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Welcome to our big Italian white wine test 2021. Here we present all the Italian white wines we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best Italian wine for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an Italian white wine.




Summary

  • Italian white wine is of high quality and is characterised by the DOCG and DOC quality labels.
  • Depending on the region, Italian white wine tastes fruity and dry (north) to sweet and mellow (south).
  • Italian white wine tastes particularly good with starters, salads, fish dishes and white meat.

The Best Italian White Wine: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Italian white wine

Which grape varieties are typical for Italian wine?

More than 20 different grape varieties are used for Italian white wine, which are distributed among the different regions of Italy. However, the most well-known and popular grape varieties are the following:

Weinreben

Italy is a country of excellent white wine, with the Fanciacorta region enjoying ever-increasing popularity. (Image source: unsplash.com/ Sven Wilhelm)

Trebbiano, which is one of the oldest and most widespread grape varieties in Italy today. Mostly, this grape is used for inexpensive wines, or even mixed with other grape varieties.

However, with appropriate care, high quality, light white wines are also produced from this grape variety. Especially the Trebbiano wines from Umbria are a real treat.

The grape variety Verdicchio stands out as the most important variety of the Marche wines. Well-known examples of Italian white wines of the Verdicchio variety are the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and the Verdicchio di Matelica. However, Verdicchio delle Marche is also highly recommended.

For those who like to drink fruity, fresh white wine, we recommend wines with the Ribolla Gialla grape variety. This ancient Italian grape variety is enjoying more and more connoisseurs and contributes to a very dry wine.

Other well-known grape varieties for Italian wine are also:

  • Chardonnay
  • Garganega
  • Malvasia
  • Pinot Bianco
  • Prosecco
  • Sauvignon blanc

What regions does Italian white wine come from?

The best-known growing regions for Italian white wine include Tuscany, the region around Lake Garda and South Tyrol. However, white wines from Piedmont and the Veneto region are also well-known white wine regions.

Depending on the grape variety, there are also other wine regions that are typical for a certain variety.

Since Italy is a country that is not unknown for its excellent wines, a region like Franciacorta, which is also called the "Champagne of Italy", should not be missing. In this region, the wine made famous by bottle fermentation is produced by the approximately 100 local winegrowers.

What does Italian white wine taste like?

Italian white wine is characterised above all by its quality and intensity. These two characteristics are also the reason why Italian white wines are among the best in the world.

Typical for Italian white wines is their effervescence and their drinkable taste, which makes them ideal companions to light meals.

Region taste
North fruity, fine
Veneto fresh, harmonious, dry
South strong, aromatic

Depending on the growing region, however, the taste spectrum of Italian white wine is enormous. Fruity, fine wines such as Pinot Bianco or Gavi are found in the northern regions of Italy, while classics such as Lugana or Soave come from the Veneto.

The further south you go, the stronger the wines taste and Sicilian wines, for example, are characterised by their strong aroma.

Did you know that wine contains calories?

Alcohol contains almost as much energy as fat and is quickly converted into fat deposits A glass of wine is not immediately noticeable as a new waistline.

However, if you regularly drink several glasses of wine and hardly consume any energy on the other hand, you have to reckon with weight gain.

How expensive is Italian wine?

Depending on the grape variety and exclusivity of the wine, you have to reckon with different prices. One of the cheapest types of wine is Chardonnay, which you can buy for as little as 4.50€. Wines from Franciacorta, however, cost as little as €25 per bottle.

Region Price per bottle
North 8€ - 20€
Veneto 5€ - 15€
South 10€ - 30€

Looking at the prices of Italian white wine in general, we can see that the majority of wines are in the price range between 15€ and 30€ per bottle.

However, for extremely exclusive wines such as Ribolla 2009 or Rossj-Bass 2017, you will pay prices around 70€.

What are the recommended Italian white wine brands?

According to our research, the white wines from the north of Italy are particularly recommendable. Especially Verdicchio, Friulano and Pinot Blanc are highly recommended.

However, we must not forget the wines from the Italian Champagne region, the Fanciacorta, which are becoming more and more popular.

In contrast to red wine, the vintage labels are less important for white wine. However, white wines from particularly good vintages can provide great pleasure for 10-15 years.

According to our research, the years 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013 are particularly recommendable for the best Italian white wine.

What alternatives are there to Italian white wine?

Since Italian white wine is very different in taste and one cannot generalise the different varieties, it is difficult to find alternatives to Italian white wine that taste similar.

One reason for this is that wines typically taste like the region in which they were grown. Among other things, this has to do with the soil and climate of the wine region.

In order to find a reasonably suitable alternative to Italian white wine, we recommend that you pay attention to the grape varieties used and buy wines with similar grape varieties.

Decision: What types of Italian white wine are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of Italian white wine:

  • White wine from the Alpine region of Italy
  • White wine from the Veneto
  • White wine from the South of Italy

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the Italian white wine that is best for you.

Did you know where the word "wine" comes from?

"Wine" comes from the Latin term "vinum". In Latin, "vinum" gave rise to the word "vinea", meaning "vineyard".

What distinguishes white wine from the Alpine region of Italy?

As already mentioned in terms of taste, white wine from the north of Italy is characterised by its light, fruity, delicate flavour.

Examples of this typical taste are wines like Pinot Bianco or Gavi.

A special feature of white wine from the Italian Alpine region is that it is known among connoisseurs as the best Italian white wine. Wines from South Tyrol in particular are highly recommended.

What distinguishes a white wine from the Veneto?

Although this region is better known for its red wines, the classic white wines come from the Veneto. Examples are the Lugana or the Soave.

According to wine experts, this region is characterised by clean and honest white wines.

Like the other wine regions of Italy, Veneto is characterised by a wide range of indigenous grape varieties, most of which can only develop to their full potential in this region, their accustomed environment.

What distinguishes a white wine from the south of Italy?

The south is Italy's largest wine region and is responsible for almost a quarter of all Italian wine production. In addition to its own consumption, this white wine is often blended with grape varieties from other Italian wine regions to make table wine.

However, the south of Italy is also known as the home of strongly aromatic dessert wines such as the two wines Moscato di Pantelleria and Malvasia delle Lipari.

However, not only dessert wines are produced in the south of Italy, but also high quality dry white wines. Famous examples of this region are Marsalla and Grillo.

To give you an overview, we have summarised the wine regions above with their typical wines:

Wine region Special features
North Region with the best Italian wine

Wines: Pinot Bianco, Gavi

Veneto region of the classics

wide range of grape varieties

Wines: Lugana, Soave

South Italy's largest wine region

Dessert wines and high quality dry white wines

Wines: Marsalla, Grillo

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate Italian white wines

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate Italian white wines. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective product.

In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Colour
  • Aroma
  • Taste
  • Acidity
  • Certifications

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a product based on the criteria or not.

Colour

The greatest distinguishing feature of wines is their colour. Depending on the grape variety, the production method and the age of the wine, the colour differs considerably.

Wein wird in Weingläser gegossen

In general, you can remember that white wine gets darker with age. (Image source: unsplash.com/ Elle Hughes)

Colour definitions of Italian white wines range from yellowish with green reflections to lemon yellow, straw yellow and golden yellow. Young, dry wines tend to be lighter in colour and dessert wines richer in colour.

Smell

When smelling Italian white wine, floral, fruity scents are most noticeable. Italian white wine is characterised by the following olfactory notes, among others:

  • Fragrant with flowers and citrus
  • Ripe yellow fruits
  • Exotic fruit notes
  • Gooseberry
  • Stone fruit
  • Citrus notes
  • Floral and summer flowers
  • Roasted notes
  • Some butterscotch

Taste

In general, the taste of Italian white wine is described as follows:

  • Fruity
  • Round
  • Fresh
  • Moderately acidic
  • Elegant
  • Delicately sweet
  • Appealingly spicy

However, you must bear in mind that the taste varies from wine region to wine region. While white wine from the north tastes rather fruity and fresh, dessert wine from Sicily tastes rather sweet.

Acidity

If white wine is bottled immediately after the harvest, it has a higher acid content. Compared to other white wines, however, Italian white wine is a rather low-acid wine.

Another decisive factor for the acidity is the length of storage. If white wine is stored for a longer period of time, the acid content is reduced. The reason for this is the lactic acid bacteria, which reduce the acidity in the wine over time.

Compared to Italian red wine, Italian white wine has a higher acid content. In addition, Italian white wines usually always contain a greater or lesser amount of malic acid, which is not the case with Italian red wine.

Certifications

Italian winegrowers focus on quality in the production of their wine. For this reason, there are four different quality levels. These differ not only in the colour and smell of the wine, but also define the exact minimum storage time.

In general, you can distinguish between the following 4 quality levels:

  • DOCG
  • DOC
  • IGT
  • VdT

In order to give you an overview of these designations, we will now explain the difference between the various quality levels.

DOCG: DOCG distinguishes the best wines and is the flagship of Italian wines. In order to be allowed to carry this label, there are certain requirements for the wine, which means that only about 5% of Italian wines can actually be awarded this label.

Rules that DOCG wines must meet include issues such as alcohol and acid content, colour and taste, and minimum maturation time in barrels and bottles.

These criteria are tested in the laboratory as well as by a tasting committee and then evaluated.

DOC: 25% of all Italian wines carry this quality label. Wines in this category are also considered Italian quality wines, one level below the DOCG top wines of Italy.

Since there are many different wine-growing regions in Italy, each region also has its own DOC designation with its own rules. Rules such as permissible grape varieties, blending ratios and yield per hectare are prescribed.

ICT: Wines in this class can be compared to German Landwein. Wines with this designation come from a clearly defined area of origin. As a result, these wines also have a geographically determined characteristic.

In contrast to the DOC wines, there are lower requirements for the wine in this category, but this does not necessarily mean that these wines taste less good. For example, these wines may have a higher yield per hectare than DOC wines.

VDT: You can translate the last wine designation with the German designation of a table wine. These wines only have to meet the minimum legal requirements and are therefore not allowed to advertise the grape variety, the vintage or the region.

Many small winegrowers in particular who do not have their wines certified are in this category. Accordingly, these wines can also taste very good and be certified in a different quality level.

The four different quality labels are a kind of seal of quality for Italian wines. They contain different requirements such as the grape varieties used, the growing region and production guidelines.

The labels can be a good help in determining the quality of the wine, but they are no guarantee of the true taste.

Facts worth knowing about Italian white wine

For which dishes is Italian white wine best suited?

Due to its light and fruity taste, Italian white wine is particularly suitable as an accompaniment to starters. You can serve it especially well with salads, vegetables and pasta with light sauces.

Italian white wine is also excellent with fish dishes, shellfish, mussels and white meats.

If you also like to cook with white wine, we recommend preparing mussels with Italian wine.

Other delicious dishes with white wine include:

  • Gnocchi in white wine sauce with ham
  • Fish fillet and scallops in white wine cream sauce

What is the best way to store Italian white wine?

It is especially important to keep Italian white wine refrigerated. This is the only way to keep it fruity and fresh.

In order to enjoy Italian white wine perfectly, you should pay attention to the optimal drinking temperature. This is between 8 and 10 degrees.

Generally speaking, you should consume quality wine within the first one to three years. However, if the wine you buy is very acidic, the shelf life can increase to up to six years.

Image source: unsplash.com / Thomas Martinsen

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