The Gastronomer's Guide
A Must-Sip Guide To Southern Italy's Best Wine Tasting
It would be impossible to explore all these regions in a single trip — you’ll need several days, even a week per area to properly cover everything. But if you are on a time crunch, we’ve highlighted one vineyard stop in each destination. Here are the five must-sip regions for wine tasting in Southern Italy, from north to south!
CAMPANIA — Shin of the Boot
With a dramatic coastline and vast hills and valleys, Campania is New York’s Hamptons meets California’s Napa. This Southern Italy wine region thrives on traditional grapes grown on high-elevation or slope-side vineyards. It produces white grapes such as, Falanghina, Greco, and Fiano. And it produces red grapes, most notably Aglianico, which makes a full-bodied red called Taurasi, known to many as the Barolo of the south.
Where to taste: Close to Naples, Sorrentino Vini is one of a handful of wineries located on Mount Vesuvius. They’ll allow you to sample six or seven different wines — and even their homemade fruit jam — while you feast your eyes on a view of the Bay of Naples.
PUGLIA — High Heel of the Boot
Don’t look now, but Puglia is undergoing a wine renaissance. The region blessed with abundant sunshine is finally coming to light. Over the last decade alone, Puglia’s wine quality has increased significantly, all while keeping its prices customer-friendly. It’s primarily a red region, and its grapes include Montepulciano, Bombino Nero, Malvasia Nera, Negroamaro, and Primitivo. That said, if you’re looking for a great rosé in Italy, Puglia is where you should go.
Where to taste: Just outside of Taranto, the Vetrère winery is led by a pair of sisters: the Brunis. What to try? Their red Passaturo from 2015, an 85-point winner at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards.
BASILICATA — Arch of the Boot
Basilicata is a rather deserted territory between Calabria and Puglia, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your while. First, there’s the rocky outcrop city of Matera, as breathtaking as any of Italy’s landmarks. Then there’s its vino, growing in international recognition, but still largely undiscovered. Its top red, Aglianico del Vulture, is a dark-grape, high-impact taste, if still a little under the radar.
Where to taste: At Cantine del Notaio, the seventh-generation Giuratrabocchetti family grows their grapes on the slopes of Mount Vulture. Some of their wines age in the natural caves and grottoes formed underneath the village.
CALABRIA — Toe of the Boot
Calabria is Southern Italy’s most isolated, rugged region. It was once a wealthy Greek colony, and traces of this history can be found in its grapes. It has two main grapes: The red Gaglioppo, which produces a pale, high-alcohol wine, and the white Greco Bianco. The region’s most famous wine though, is Cirò, made near the port city of Crotone.
Where to taste: Stop in at the Librandi estate in Cirò Marina for wine samples and local bites, or up the ante with a “Librandi Day.” This extensive tour navigates the winery in depth, explores the vineyards and olive groves in pick-up trucks, climbs the hills for great views, and even visits the Agricultural Museum in an old farmhouse.
SICILY — Off the Toe of the Boot
Once considered a viticulturally unimportant region thanks to cheap, mass-produced wines, Sicily is now a force on the Southern Italy wine scene. Having been called Italy’s most exciting up and coming wine region, it boasts 700 producers and more than 20 grape types. Still not quite mainstream, now’s the time to check out the boot toe and, in particular, the northeast Etna District for its red Nerello Mascalese and white Carricante.
Where to taste: On the northeast corner of Mount Etna, Gambino Vini winery strikes a balance between the past and present. Plan a tour of this volcano-side vineyard and cellar to learn more about its authentic approach to winemaking.