The White Wines of Northern Italy

The White Wines of Northern Italy

At Flunder Wines we love our Italian white. These northern Italian regions have plenty of altitude (in some cases in the steep foothills of the Alps), great diurnal temperature variation (temperature fluctuation between night and day), and enough sunshine to give the grapes a healthy tan. Here are some of the main northern Italian white wines to keep an eye out for.

Alto Adige

Alto Adige is Italy’s northernmost wine region, bordering Austria in the foothills of the Alps. Steep, terraced vineyards enjoy an especially wide diurnal range due to the altitude, making these wines very aromatic. The region is gorgeous, transporting you to Switzerland or Austria with its well-tended mountain chalets, cute huts, Alpine cows, and snow-capped peaks.

Gewürztraminer: Aromatic and fruity, this grape has lush notes of lychee, tangerine, pink grapefruit, rose, and guava. Why the German name? Alto Adige used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.


Müller-Thurgau: Floral, nutmeg, and citrus aromas dominate this grape in Alto Adige. Northern Italy’s old vines and steep, high-altitude vineyards give this varietal wine great ageing potential and serious character.


Sylvaner: This is a variety whose origins may be German. It is a crisp, delicate wine with fruity notes of apple and lime, accompanied by a solid minerality.

 

Trentino


Trentino is south of Alto Adige, technically part of the same province that includes both regions: Trentino-Alto Adige. Its valley widens and the vines are still planted at high altitudes in pergolas. It’s another stunning region with postcard perfect views of the Alps.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia


This northeastern region of Italy borders Slovenia; you’ll also hear it called simply Friuli. It’s a region known for Pinot Grigio, particularly from the Collio region.

Pinot Grigio: This grape and wine may not normally be synonymous with “concentrated,” but in this corner of Italy, they can be complex and more layered than any other PG off the shelf. Look for Friuli Grave DOC, Collio DOC, or Colli Orientali DOC. Try Pighin Pinot Grigio Collio DOC, which is a pure expression of the grape and region. Aged in stainless steel with no oak contact, the wine has notes of white fruit and citrus and a lively complexity.

Piemonte
This northwestern region bordering on France is most famous for its world-renowned reds like Barolo and Barbaresco. But its whites can be just as excellent a match for their white and black truffles, egg-rich pastas, and bounty of cheeses.

Gavi: Alpine and Apennine altitudes plus sea breezes help prolong the ripening seasoning of this white. Made from 100% Cortese grapes, these are light-bodied with high acidity and are very aromatic: notes of green apple, pear, and citrus dominate. You’ll find these labeled Gavi DOC or Gavi di Gavi DOCG. Our Ke Bonta is a fantastic example of why this grape is so popular.


Moscato d’Asti: Our only sweet wine on this list, Moscato d’Asti is a treat for your palate. At 7% ABV, it is light and easy to drink, especially because of its frizzante No overwhelming sweetness here—just delightful notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, pear, and mandarin orange. Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti DOCG tends towards peach and apricot.



Veneto
Another region known primarily for its reds like Amarone, don’t overlook the Veneto’s white wine Soave.

Soave: This is grown at higher altitudes in clay soils—both factors that slow down ripening and create a backbone of acidity plus complexity. It’s made from 100% Garganega. Still up-and-coming compared to the other whites on this list, you should be able to find Soave at a more specialized wine store. It is medium-bodied with notes of melon, tangerine, peach, and herbs.


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