10 Red Wines for Your Next Italian Night ... Or Any Night

Food Love
10 Red Wines for Your Next Italian Night... Or Any Night

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September 5 2023


Hosting an Italian wine night or dinner is a brilliant way to sample wines from a different region. Everyone brings a bottle to share.

Looking for delicious Italian-inspired recipes, tips, and tricks? View everything Italian-related all in one place: Hy-Vee's Italian Cooking Guide!

  1. Barbera

    Barbera is a dry red wine known for its deep color, low tannins and high acid levels. When young, it has an intense aroma of fresh red cherries and blackberries. When aged in toasted or seared oak barrels, the wine can develop an increased complexity in flavor and bring out slight vanilla notes. More versatile than Barbaresco, Barbera pairs well with just about anything you throw at it.

  2. Brunello di Montalcino

    Often compared to Pinot Noir, this wine contains smooth tannins and has a ripe fruit-forward flavor. Brunello pairs well with grilled meats, game, and aged cheese.

  3. Barbaresco

    Consisting of cherry, truffle, fennel and licorice flavors, this wine is best when aged to let smoky flavors develop. Young Barbaresco can have a tight and tannic flavor, so be sure to decant if consuming a younger vintage. Because of its bold taste, Barbaresco is best paired with strong-flavored dishes such as pasta with truffle sauce, game meats and stew.

  4. Chianti

    Produced in Tuscany, Italy, Chianti wines are made from various grapes. Chianti wines have many classifications ranging from Classico to Superiore, and their flavors often include tart, spicy and herbaceous notes. It pairs well with red meats, prosciutto and pasta dishes.

  5. Lambrusco

    This sparkling red wine can come in various levels of dryness and sweetness: secco (bone dry/dry), Amabile (off-dry/sweet) and dolce (very sweet). Sweet Lambrusco is commonly found in the United States and contains hints of strawberry flavors with a slightly bitter finish.

    P.S. Speaking of sparkling red wine, mix up a batch of sparkling sangria next time you host a gathering.

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  6. Valpolicella

    Known for its fresh cherry flavor and crisp acidity, this light- to medium-bodied wine is an excellent go-to for charcuterie and is considered a table wine in Verona.

  7. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

    Parmesan Cheese and Red Wine Glass

    Produced in east-central Italy, this dry wine is known for its soft tannins, blackberry notes and syrupy mouthfeel. Although it's typically consumed young, when it's aged for more than two years, it's labeled as “Riserva.” While this wine can sometimes be paired with spicier sauces, try it with a meat-based sauce or robust hard cheese, such as Parmigiano Reggiano.

  8. Chianti Classico

    Two words can be used to describe this wine: complex and deep. If you're looking for a red wine with notes of sweet red fruits with a hint of spice, you've found it. This wine has velvety tannins and is very balanced, no matter what year you find in our stores. This wine finishes with the flavors of savory rosemary and sweet figs making it the perfect pairing for roasted chicken dishes like chicken cacciatore.

  9. Vino Nobile de Montepulciano

    Aged for a minimum of 2 years, this rich red wine has a great depth of flavor and complexity but maintains its bright notes of red fruits. Open a bottle if you're having red meat, roasted poultry or aged cheeses.

  10. Pinot Noir

    The pinot noir grapes that make up this wine are harvested in the hills of the Provincia di Pavia in Italy. The wine is fermented in large oak barrels for a balanced flavor that's still big, bold and complex with hints of bright cherry notes. Pair this wine with roasted red meats, poultry, charcuterie, vegetarian entrees and even fish like salmon, tuna and swordfish.