A Guide To The Northern Italy Wine Regions
7th November 2022
If you have always wanted to know more about the most famous Northern Italy wine regions, keep reading.
I’ll give you a brief yet detailed overview of what each of the most famous wine regions has to offer so that you know exactly what to expect.
What are Northern Italy’s most important Wine Regions?
Northern Italy has at least four main wine regions. From north-west to north-east you’ll encounter Piemonte, Trentino Alto Adige up north, Veneto, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions.
What’s Northern Italy’s climate?
To get a sense of the climate of this large area, the easiest thing is probably to look at Google Maps and you’ll immediately notice that the northern Italian border is limited by the Alps.
You’ll notice as well some major rivers like the Po and large lakes like Lago Maggiore and Lago di Garda.
In case you are wondering why you should care about all these things, the reason is that it has a significant effect on the climate and hence on the grapes and the way they are cultivated, which in the end it will determine, amongst other things the characteristics of the wines that are produced.
For example, the Alps function as shelter for the vineyards from the rain, and the rivers and lakes help create a more moderate climate with dry summers and cold and wet winters.
These conditions present a series of challenges for wine producers such as preventing the formation of fungal diseases in the excessively wet area and at the same time preserving the high acidity and low sugar typical of sparkling and white wines by preserving the grapes from sunburns during the summer time.
The Piemonte Wine Region
As previously seen Piemonte is located in the northwest part of Italy and is characterized by a dry and hot summer and long and cold winters it allows various viticulture techniques thanks to its foothills going up to 600 meters.
Only a small part of Piemonte is dedicated to wine production and that’s the area around Monferrato, Asti, and Alba where DOC and DOCG appellations are produced like Barolo and Barbaresco DOCG.
A common characteristic of Piemonte wines is their high acidity.
The other main wines, apart from the world-renowned Barolo and Barbaresco, that you’ll find in Piemonte are Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Grignolino for the red wines, Cortese for the white wines, Moscato and Malvasia for the sweet wine and Spumante d’Asti for the sparkling wine.
One thing to know is that in Piemonte, you won’t find IGT or IGP appellations.
The Trentino Alto Adige Wine Region
Trentino and Alto Adige are actually two very distinct regions within the same region with different languages and traditions.
As such you can only expect to have different approaches to wine production.
The most northern Italian territory is Alto Adige with short and dry summers and usually low rains during the growing season.
The most important wine produced in the area is Pinot Grigio usually in its dry, mineral, and light body style, followed by Gerwutzstraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.
The appellation from the area is Alto Adige DOC.
Trentino is located south of Alto Adige and has similar climatic conditions but warmer. Pinot Grigio is once again the main wine but with a different style.
You’ll find dry, medium-body wines with lower acidity and fruit flavors. Other important wines from the area are Merlot and Teroldego, which are red wines.
The appellation from the area is Trentino DOC.
The Veneto Wine Region
The Veneto region extends from Lake Gard in the west to Venice in the east and hosts foothills on the north and a flat area in the south.
Veneto is as well one of the largest wine-producing regions in Italy, producing high-quality wines across red, white, dessert, and sparkling wines.
Soave DOC, Valpolicella DOC, and Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG are the most famous red wines, followed by Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay for the whites, Recioto della Valpolicella for the dessert, and last but not least Prosecco for the sparkling wines.
The Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region
If Piemonte represents the far left corner of Northern Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is exactly at the opposite end of it with a mountain on the north and the sea on the south.
Pinot Grigio is once again one of the main wines produced in the area, along with Merlot, but with its own different style.
You’ll in fact find medium to full-body Pinot Grigio wines with more intense fruit flavors ranging from stone fruit like peach to tropical fruit like ananas.
Similarly, Merlot wines, they’ll display medium body and acidity with ripe red fruit flavors and hints of oak.
Collio DOC and Colli Orientali DOC are some of the most famous appellations from the area.
If you have been through the article, by now you should have a good understanding of Northern Italy’s most famous wine regions.
As you can see there’s a lot to see, discover and taste in each of these regions, and we have only briefly touched on wines here.
We hope the above guide was helpful to you and that now you can make the most of your next trip to Northern Italy. Cheers!
Founder and writer at handywineguide.com Her mission? Simple, make the world of wine more accessible to you and by doing so enhance your experience.