You don’t have to leave LA to explore Italian wines! Start from here

You would like to explore the vast world of Italian wines but don’t know where to start? If you are in Culver City, head over Sorrento Italian Market. Opened back in 1964, the store offers a remarkable selection of wines from every single region of Italy.

Otherwise, just keep reading. With the help of Steve Lanzarotta, who selects Italian imported products for Sorrento Italian Market, we picked 20 typical Italian wines from the country’s 20 regions.

As you probably know, Italian grapes and wines are very diverse. With these wines, which you can easily find at Sorrento or online, you will get to savor the taste of each Italian region. Plus, there’s a very special extra one. Try to guess what we’re talking about!

Italian wines in display

From Lombardy (Pinot Nero Terrazze) to Sicily (Cerasuolo), passing through Marche (Pecorino). Photo: Mischa Rajendiran

20 Ideas (Plus One) to Explore Italian Wines

  • Abruzzo: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Rondineto” DOC from Fattoria Giuseppe Savini ($16). The main winery in the region is the maker of a velvety full-bodied wine, to pair with hearty dishes.
  • Aosta Valley: Torrette Superieur DOC from Maison Anselmet ($35). Thanks to its tenacious winemakers, even the tiny alpine region of Valle d’Aosta makes quality wines. Torrette Superieur is a blend of native grapes: Petit Rouge, Cornalin, and Fumin.
  • Apulia: Primitivo “Elè” from Tenute Chiaromonte ($12). The origin of Primitivo grapes is not clear. They might be related to Croatian Zinfandel grapes. At any rate, there’s no doubt that, in Italy, their home is sunny Apulia. It’s an intense full-bodied wine, but velvety and not too tannic (Negroamaro would also be a great choice from this region)
  • Basilicata: Greco-Fiano “Pipoli” IGP from Vigneti del Vulture ($16). Often neglected, despite the charming historical city of Matera, this region produces few wines… But good ones! Such as this blend of Fiano and Greco grapes. A simple and light wine, but absolutely enjoyable.
  • Calabria: Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva “Volvito” from Caparra & Siciliani ($25). The tip of the Italian “boot”, this region is rustic but intriguing. This wine is made with a native grape called Gaglioppo, which can grow even on the dry lands of Calabria.

RELATED: Interested in Southern Italian wines? Discover Calabrian wine

Even more Italian wines

You cannot go wrong with these two classics: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Lambrusco (Photo: Mischa Rajendiran)

  • Campania: Rosaenovae Irpinia DOC from Terredora di Paolo ($13). In the hinterland of this region, Aglianico grapes are vinified as rosé, too. The result is an intense and fruity wine.
  • Emilia-Romagna: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC from Tenuta Pederzana ($16). Lambrusco is bubbly like the inhabitants of this region. As a sparkling red wine, it really stands out among Italian wines. Needless to say, it is the perfect match for the cheese and charcuterie for which the region is famous. Here’s another great Lambrusco, by the way.
  • Friuli Venezia-Giulia: Pinot Grigio San Cipriano from Farello Wines ($9). Friuli is famous for native grapes such as Friulano, Ribolla, and Malvasia Istriana. The world-known Pinot Grigio finds in this region one of the best terroirs where to flourish gloriously.
  • Lazio: Cesanese “Amarasco” from Principe Pallavicini ($25). Cesanese is a grape native of Lazio, i.e. Rome’s region. The Pallavicinis, a noble family of ancient lineage, make a Cesanese that has its typical deep red color and a mouth-filling body, thanks to the slight maceration of the grapes.
  • Liguria: Pigato Riviera Ligure di Ponente from Colle dei Bardellini ($20). In Liguria, grapes cling on the slopes of coastal mountains plunging into the sea. Wine-making is challenging, but very rewarding. One example? Pigato, a white wine with a salty quality that reminds of the sea.
  • Lombardy: Pinot Nero “Terrazze” from Mazzolino Estates ($20). Near the city of Pavia we find the Oltrepó (literally, “over the Po river”), alas underestimated and economically unfortunate area. But it’s here where Pinot Nero reaches its greatest expression, both as a bubbly and still wine. The typical floral and fruity aroma of Pinot Nero is going to conquer you.
  • Marche: Falerio Pecorino DOP “Curtes” from La Corte dei Farfensi ($16). No, not pecorino cheese! Pecorino is also a grape variety that produces a powerful and mouth-filling wine. It can be paired with red and white meats alike.
Italian wines at Taste of Italy 2015

Getting thirsty? (Photo: Mischa Rajendiran)

  • Molise: Ramitello Biferno Rosso from Majo Norante ($25). The encounter between the powerful tannic quality of Aglianico and the enveloping fruitiness of Montepulciano gives birth to Ramitello, a full-bodied red wine.
  • Piedmont: “Damilano” Arneis Langhe DOP from Damilano Family ($20). Piedmont is not only a synonym for Barolo, or for red wines. This wine is an example. Arneis used to be blended with Nebbiolo grapes. Today, it is vinified as single variety.
  • Sardinia: Filieri Rosso Cannonau di Sardegna from Cantina Dorgali ($13). Cannonau is an ancient red grape, native of wonderful Sardinia. The wine made with these grapes is round, just a little tannic, with a slightly bitter finish.
  • Sicily: Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG from Judeka ($20). Made with a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato grapes, Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a cherry-red wine that’s fresh, fruity, and easy to drink, perfect for the happy hour!

RELATED: Do you know Cantine Florio Marsala, a Sicilian dessert wine with 200 years of history?

  • Tuscany: Vin Santo Chianti Classico from San Felice Agricola ($27). Classic dessert wine produced in the lands of Chianti from Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia del Chianti grapes. It’s usually served with cantuccini (which you may know them as “biscotti”), the typical Tuscan almond cookies.
  • Trentino-South Tyrol: Terre di San Leonardo Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT from Tenuta San Leonardo ($25). Prestigious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, result of thorough enological research and experience.
  • Umbria: Còlpetrone Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG from Saiagricola ($25). Fruity, spiced, and slightly tannic, Sagrantino is the main red grape variety of Umbria, also produced as a dessert wine.
  • Veneto: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry from Ruggeri Giustino B. ($30). Prosecco, made with classic Charmat method, is the most famous Italian bubbly wine. Ruggeri produces a Prosecco that sets itself apart from many others. More expensive than the average Prosecco at your local supermarket, but well worth the splurge!
  • San Marino: Spumante Brut Riserva Titano from Consorzio Vini Tipici di San Marino ($13). Finally, here’s the bonus one! San Marino is not an Italian region, but a small independent country within Italy. Biancale, Sangiovese, and Chardonnay grapes (so, both white and red grapes) give birth to this bubbly wine, made with classic Charmat method.

Ready to embark on a wine tasting journey through the regions of Italy? Have fun picking you favorites and savoring the incredible variety of Italian wines!