Going to the Italian section in a wine shop can be an intimidating task. If you don’t speak Italian, the words on the label mean almost nothing to you. If you’ve ever traveled to Italy perhaps some words are familiar. In this article, I will tell you how to shop for Italian wine in the simplest way.
First, decide if you want a red or white wine. If you’re looking to pair it with a home cooked meal, then you can read my article, How to pair Italian Wine with Food. If proper pairing is not a concern for you, move on.
Choose a price range and be willing to go up a few dollars if necessary. $15 – $18 get’s you at the beginning of quality Italian wines if the shop is trustworthy. Check wine-searcher.com to compare prices in your area. That way you’ll know if your local shop prices their wine in the same range as their competitors.
Make sure the label has one of the following classifications:
If the label doesn’t have these classifications on the front or back label, DON’T buy it! Without those classifications, you’ll be getting the cheapest, nastiest quality.
Look for “ESTATE BOTTLED” or “PRODUCED AND BOTTLE BY XYZ COMPANY” on the back label. For the latter, make sure the company name mentioned on the back is the same company name on the front. It’s important the wine was produced and bottled in the same place by the same company. This ensures quality!