White wine isn’t just an Italian tradition, it’s a way of life for us here in the Veneto region. Thanks also to the rising popularity of Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, the Veneto region now exports over 6 million liters of white wine to other countries around the world each year. Of course, we enjoy plenty of bottles here at home, too! You may be more familiar with Italy’s famous red wines like Chianti or Pinot Noir, but don’t forget we produce some of the tastiest white wines in the world.
In our family, white wine has always been the easiest to pair with food; it’s subtle flavors tend to go so well with things we eat often like seafood and simple pasta. It’s really the perfect choice for so many occasions at our winery, especially those held outdoors in the mild Veneto climate.
Let’s take a look and some of Italy’s best white wine varietals.
The easiest-to-recognize Italian white wine is definitely Pinot Grigio. The Veneto region, where the Candoni de Zan winery is located, is known for its production of excellent Pinot Grigios. In general, this varietal is light, on the drier side, and slightly citrusy on its finish. You can’t do much better than a glass of Pinot as a refreshing pairing for grilled fish or a fresh salad.
Traminer is the name of a family of grape variants that includes the famous German wine Gewurtzraminer. It’s one of the main components of many Austrian wines and thus grows best in the northern reaches of Italy. As a wine these grapes provide a high sugar content and extreme aromatics, and flavors like lemon, raisin, and rose can be very pronounced. We love Traminer varietals as dessert wines due to their intense sweetness.
Did you know that Italy makes Chardonnay? And delicious Chardonnay, at that! Typically associated with California wine, Chardonnay is produced in the mountains of far northern Italy which gives the Italian version a lighter, crisper taste than their more-buttery American counterparts. Italian Chardonnay is typically not stored or aged in oak barrels, giving it a fruiter finish, ensuring it pairs nicely with rich lobster or pasta with cream sauce.
Known worldwide for its sweetness, Italian Moscato wine has become a very popular hot-weather aperitif, although it works well as a dessert wine, too. My girlfriends can’t seem to throw a party without it! Moscato has a slight fizziness – referred to as “semi-sparkling – and lots of fruity flavors such as nectarine and peach. It is made from the Muscat grape which grows well in Italy’s Piedmont region. It’s a great pair for dessert, but we suggest actually serving it with spicy food – the sweetness of the wine will add balance!
Sparkling Prosecco is Italy’s (delicious!) answer to champagne. Unlike champagne, it’s aged in stainless steel tanks which helps make it a very affordable alternative. It’s typically made from Glera grapes, but other varieties are often mixed in to give it flavors of apricot, peach, and pear. My favorite way to enjoy prosecco is mixed with peach puree (called a “Bellini”) but it’s also excellent as a pre-dinner drink or as something special to serve for a momentous occasion.
There are, of course, several other notable Italian white varietals to try such as Asti, Gavi, Soave, Lison Classico D.O.C.G, Verdiccio, Frascati, and Arneis. The moral of the story is, Italy is a fantastic white wine corner of the world! Thankfully, you don’t have to travel here to sample a bottle of our loveliest white wine blends…but as someone who lives la vita bella here in Italia myself, I suggest you should!