Food & Wine Style

6 Italian Grapes You Should Know

When people think of grapes, the names “Cabernet” and “Merlot” often come to mind, since these are the most commonly used grapes in the wines that are popular with wine drinkers. But with wine becoming increasingly popular around the globe, many people are seeking to learn more about the other grapes that vintners use to make wines. Many wineries will also blend grapes to create even more palatable enjoyment.

Italy is the home of many wonderful grapes, but these particular 6 grape varietals are ones I specifically think you should know about. When you go to select a bottle of wine, whether to pair with a nice meal or for simply sipping on its own while you contemplate the privileges life brings, you’ll have a fine experience if you pick from these.


Sangiovese is the most well-known grape in the Italian grape family. The richly colored, slightly spicy wines the Sangiovese grape produces are often what people think of when they imagine the classic Italian wine that goes well with food, particularly pastas, meats and cheeses.


Montepulciano is the second most common Italian grape. It produces wines of low acidity with mild tannins, making it very drinkable. Wines made with the Montepulciano grape often come at a good price point, while remaining sophisticated and fresh in flavor.


The Barbera grape grows in the central Piemonte region of Italy. It is the third most popular Italian grape, and makes a wonderful wine to pair with a fine meal. The Barbera grape produces a wine with low tannins and deep color. When blended with other grapes, it brings a fresh astringency to the blend.


The Trebbiano grape is also widely cultivated and produces highly drinkable but often un-distinctive wines. The Trebbiano grape’s high acidity makes it a key ingredient in more fortified wine products like Cognac.


Not to be confused with the Italian cheese by the same name, the Pecorino grape is a domesticated version of grapes that grew wild in the Italian mountains. It can be mixed with Trebbiano to produce sparkling white wines.


The Glera grape has been cultivated since Roman times. It is a rather neutral grape in flavor, and is primarily used to make the delightful and refreshing sparkling wines of Italy, which often go by the name of Prosecco.

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