Thursday, July 18, 2024

How To Order Wine In Italy

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[Learn Italian For Free] – How to order wine in Italian language

In Italy it is the most widely used white wine. It is mainly grown in the central regions and has many clones such as Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano di Romagna, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano Giallo and Procanico. It also serves as a base for other white wine blends such as Frascati.

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The world of Italian wine can seem dauntingin a country smaller than the state of California, some say there are over 2,000 unique native grape varieties, and about 400 of those are used in commercial winemaking. Every province in Italy produces and exports wine, so theres also an overwhelming number of regions to keep track of!

But the good news is that this means theres something for everyone among the wines of Italy the geographically diverse country produces a fascinating range of regional specialties in every style you can imagine and at every price point.

As an added bonus, the typically balanced, elegant wines of Italy are famously food-friendly across the board, so youre certain to find the perfect pairing for everything from pasta night to a seafood extravaganza to an antipasti picnic. Here are the best Italian wines to seek out right now.

A Little Wine Etiquette

For the most part, the etiquette of ordering and drinking wine in Italy is the same as it is elsewhere. If youve ordered your wine in a restaurant from a wine list, then the procedure will be the same as it is back home. The server will bring the bottle to the table. Although establishments used to assume that the man at the head of the table would taste the wine, now, most dont. Instead, the server will ask, Chi assaggia?, meaning Who tastes? Simply point to the person to do the tasting. The server will show the label to him or her, open the bottle, and pour a small amount into his/her glass to taste.

If youre the taster, remember that youre not really tasting the just-opened bottle to check if you like it , but to see if its gone off. Although there is some discussion on the etiquette of this, in general, if the wine hasnt spoiled, then you shouldnt really send it back.

When it comes to pouring the wine, remember that in wine culture, and in Italy, glasses are usually filled to the halfway point or just undernot to the brim. And in more-casual restaurants , you might not even get wine glasses. In that case, youre expected to use the same glass for both water and wine, switching on and off as you go hence not overfilling your glass with either beverage to begin with!

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Dry Wine Vs Sweet Wine

Another common set of terms you’ll find on a wine list is dry vs sweet wine. These terms refer to the amount of sugar left behind after the fermentation process. Lower levels of sugar and higher alcohol contents result in wines that are known as “dry” wines, while sweet wines have higher levels of sugar left behind. Any wine can be sweet or dry, as the winemaker ultimately decides the final sweetness. Sweet wines are often made by boosting the sugar concentration in grapes with heat, or by adding sugar into grape juice before fermentation.

What Kind Of Wine Should You Order

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Most beginners start with white wine. Whites are generally less intense and are served cool, which is more palatable for many. A great place to start is with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. You really can’t go wrong ordering a Chardonnay as it happens to be the most popular white wine, potentially THE most popular wine, in the world.

When youre ready to try a red, make sure to discuss with your waiter or sommelier what you enjoy about wine in general. Do you prefer it to be smooth, or do you like a little coarseness to the flavor? A great introduction to red wines is a Merlot, though the Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red in the world.

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Work With A Wine Importer

If you simply fall in love with a wine and cant get it home via one of the ways mentioned above, ask the winery to provide a list of their importers in the United States. Most will happily give you the list and then you can simply place an order through the importer directly who can have the wine shipped to you.

Often times you can also ask a wine store to place the order for you. Something to note though, that $20 bottle of Brunello will run $30-50 via the importers. In other words, if its just a few bottles you want it can be more cost effective to purchase the wine on your trip and bring it home in your checked baggage .

Italian Phrase: Vorrei Un Bicchiere Di Vino

If you plan to eat out at a restaurant in Italy, it is very important to know how to order food and drink. In this article, well be looking specifically at how to order a glass of wine in Italian.

Vorrei un bicchiere di vino.

I would like a glass of wine.

Lets take a quick look at the elements that make up this phrase:


is the first-person present conditional of the Italian verb volere which means to want. This verb form is used when making formal or polite requests, such as ordering food and drink at a restaurant.

un bicchiere

Bicchiere is a masculine noun that means glass or cup, and it is preceded by the masculine singular indefinite article un . It can refer to either the physical glass itself, or in the case of this phrase, the contents of the glass.

di vino

Di is a preposition that has many translations, but in this case, it equates to ofin English. Vino is a masculine noun that means wine.

Sta versando il vino rosso nel bicchiere.He is pouring the red wine into the glass.

Of course, you may wish to be even more specific about the kind of wine youd like. Here are a few popular choices:

  • un bicchiere di vino bianco = a glass of white wine
  • un bicchiere di vino rosso = a glass of red wine
  • un bicchiere di vino frizzante = a glass of sparkling wine
  • un bicchiere di vino rosato / rosé = a glass of rosé
  • un bicchiere di vino dolce / da dessert = a glass of sweet / dessert wine

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Guide To Italian Wine

One of the most important things to remember in Italy is that most Italian wines are food wines.

They are generally higher in acidity which is great for stimulating your palate, but on their own, they may feel harsh, sour, or sharp.

Don’t judge the wine until you’ve tried it with a bite of food.

Here are a few tips, recommendations, and suggestions for ordering wine in Italy.

  • Pairing is fundamental. In Italy, you usually choose your wine after you make your menu selection. Wine and food are considered one experience here, so if you aren’t sure how to pair, that’s what sommeliers are for!
  • Drink local from artisan producers. When in doubt, ask for something local to try. First, because regional wines and foods have been ‘naturally selected’ over time to work with each other. Second, because it shows your sincere interest in the culture of the area – everyone loves to show off something about their territory. While you may be more comfortable with the well-known Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and other familiar grapes, just know these are French grapes so aren’t indigenous to Italy.
  • Ask for help. Often your curiosity will be rewarded and a sommelier may let you sample some wines which are already open, so they can better understand your tastes. Try using any wine-related vocabulary you know to help the person serving you to make a suggestion, or let them make a selection which will pair properly with your meal.
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    Wine glasses are served half full on purpose. This is to allow the aromas and flavors to breathe and resonate a bit better.

    You dont have to sniff. Yes, many wine enthusiasts will swirl their wine and take a hearty smell before consuming it. They do this to get a feel for the aromas and essences in the wine. But, if youre new, dont feel intimidated if all you smell is wine, and dont feel obligated to swirl and sniff at all.

    Never be afraid to ask for advice! Wine experts are only too happy to share their knowledge with an inspired student!

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    Some Of Our Favorite Italian Wineries

    So after all this chit chat, lets get to the point! What are some good wines that you can order during your stay in Italy?

    Most Italian wine lists are divided into the regions where the wine was produced, so read on for some of our favorite wineries by region. And dont worry, theres something for every budget!

    The Lazio region around Rome is famous for white wines like Malvasia and Trebbiano and red wines like Merlot, Sangiovese and Cesanese. Its not one of the most famous Italian wine regions but youll find some good wine here! While ordering at a restaurant, keep in mind wineries like Casale del Giglio, Falesco and Marco Carpineti.

    If youre searching for a red, then a wine from Tuscany is the way to go. Tuscany is famous worldwide for its red wine, from the Sangiovese to the Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo Nero. Some wineries to keep in mind as you order are Castello Banfi, Marchesi Antinori and Bolgheri.

    Go for a Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine if youre into white wines with more aromatic flavours. Famous for Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, but also look out for their Merlots. A-list wineries are Jermann, Livio Felluga and Lis Neris.

    For one of the best reds, choose from the Veneto region and keep your eyes open for the Valpolliccella and Merlot for reds, and Soave and Pinot Grigio for whites. Not to mention the world-famous prosecco! Wineries to keep in mind are Masi, Bolla and Quintarelli Giuseppe.

    For Those Wanting A More Unusual Experience

    And if you are more of a wine geek or like more extreme wines – try the orange wines from Fruili-Venezia-Giulia or ask for a local natural wine.

    Looking for real, authentic Italian wine back home?

    Look no further!

    The Roscioli Italian Wine Club delivers worldwide only the best organic Italian wines in collections curated by the experts at Roscioli in Rome.

    Find out more from Lindsay Gabbard, co-founder of the Roscioli Italian Wine Club here:

    on your first payment with code ROMEWISE – click here:

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    Wine In Checked Baggage How To Pack Wine In A Suitcase

    As with the first option, there is a HUGE cost saving having wine in checked baggage assuming the bottles dont break. Remember, you will have to check your luggage if you go this route per the airlines liquid laws . So packing to prevent breakage is essential. I have had a lot of success using this method and have a few tips on how to pack wine in a suitcase to prevent breaks.

    A few things to keep in mind: If you have a hard cased bag, this is the best option for packing wine in a suitcase as it automatically adds a layer of protection. Additionally, I typically carry collapsible bags with me when I travel, RuMe bags or something like the Lipault weekend satchel. This way if I do make a larger wine purchase, I can take my clothing or shoes and put it in the extra carry-on bag.

    Seven Steps on How to Pack Wine in a Suitcase

    A few products I use are BUILT wine totes. They are made of made of Neoprene, the wetsuit material so if the bottle does break, the liquid wont leak out, at least not too badly. I also really like WineSkin. These reusable wine sleeves are made with a tough vinyl exterior and a bubble-pack interior with a seal at the bottom helping prevent leaks within your bag if they do occur. In Italy we found reusable wine bags at a local wine shop called BattlePro that worked very well. These seemed to be pretty easy to find in more remote area. All are great options when you have wine in checked baggage.)

    How To Order House Wine

    How to order wine like a pro at an Italian restaurant # ...

    For those who want to flex their language muscles when ordering wine in Rome, memorize these phrases for house wine:

    • Prendiamo un quarto di rosso della casa.
    • Prendiamo un mezzo litro di rosso della casa.

    The first sentence roughly translates to, bring us a quart of the red house wine. In the second sentence, the speaker is asking for a half liter rather than a quart. If youre more in the mood for a white house wine, then substitute the roso with bianco.

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    Best Sparkling: Ca’ Del Bosco Franciacorta Cuve Prestige Nv

    Courtesy of

    Region: Lombardy| ABV: 12.8%| Tasting Notes: Yellow Apple, Honeydew Melon, Almond, Brioche

    We all know and love prosecco, but theres another Italian bubbly that should be on your radar: franciacorta. Wine journalist Amber Gibson says, While prosecco can sometimes be too sweet for my taste, franciacorta is much closer in flavor to Champagne. Thats because unlike prosecco, this Lombardian specialty uses the same production methods and grape varieties as the iconic French region. Happily, franciacorta wines typically offer much better value than their Champenoise counterparts.

    Ca del Boscos Cuvée Prestige is a blend of the best recent vintages, made mostly from chardonnay, and packaged in a unique, eye-catching bottle that makes it perfect for gifting or special occasions. This vibrant sparkler displays yellow apple, pear, honeydew, citrus, and stone fruit aromatics upfront with time in the glass, intriguing notes of spearmint, oregano, jasmine, chamomile, almond, and toasted brioche unfurl. For aperitivo hour, pair it with baked brie and an assortment of dried fruits.

    How To Order Wine In Italy

    There is so much to know about wine that the simple lack of knowledge can be intimidating. In fact, it can downright scare people away from trying wine out of fear of incorrectly pairing the wine, not knowing the etiquette, or even not knowing how to pronounce the wine type. First of all, understand that the current movement in the wine world, among many connoisseurs at least, is to do away with the rules entirely. You no longer have to know what red pairs with what meat or which piece of glassware is appropriate for a blush in order to be accepted at the table. Things like, 1943, what a great vintage! are, essentially, no longer part of the conversation. Whew. Heres what you DO need to know.

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    Best Sweet: Flsina Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico 2008

    Courtesy of Vivino

    Region: Tuscany| ABV: 14%| Tasting Notes: Apricot, Pineapple, Honey, Spice

    While Moscato dAsti may be Italys most recognizable dessert wine, an amber-hued Tuscan specialty called Vin Santo should not be overlooked by anyone with a sweet tooth. Malvasia and trebbiano grapes are dried after picking to concentrate their sugars and flavors, resulting in a viscous, lusciously sweet wine with remarkably rich character. Classic chianti producer Fèlsina makes one of the best weve found, with the addition of sangiovese grapes to contribute sublime depth and complexity.

    The 2008 is distinguished by captivating aromas and flavors of candied apricot, peach, and pineapple, fragrant white flowers, maple honey, smoke, toasted hazelnut, dried fig, and brown spice. While its certainly sweet, tangy acidity keeps everything harmoniously balanced. Pair this, as the Tuscans do, with almond biscotti , or a spread of pâté, foie gras, and potent cheeses like stilton or gorgonzola.

    Interesting Local Wine Producers In The Lazio Region

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    Alberto Giacobbe – makes one of the best expressions of Cesanese

    Damiano Ciolli – a staple in the region – his wife speaks english for anyone who wishes to do a winery visit

    San Giovenale – Habemus is a synthesis of the best of Italy and CA

    Casal Pilozzo – his villa was once lived in by Tyrone Power and Orson Welles and the cellar dates to ancient Rome times.

    Andrea Occhipinti

    Ribelà – for more extreme natural wine lovers

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    Amazing Italian White Wines

    Because most people serve turkey on Thanksgiving, theres no right or wrong way to go with your wine. You can choose a white or a red, and theyll surely complement your dinner. If you decide to go with a white, here are a couple of suggestions:


    Soave is a delicious Italian white wine made from Gargenega grapes, grown around the village of Soave, on volcanic hills in Northern Italy. Its known for its melon and orange zest flavors. It is dry and light-bodied but with a richness that adds an extra punch.

    Pinot Grigio

    North Italian Pinot Grigios are bright, light and zippy, with white peach or nectarine flavors, and a tingly acidity. The grape itself has a greyish blue hue and is a mutation of Pinot Noir. It is commonly grown in the Veneto, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, and Trentino-Alto Adige.

    Pinot Grigio has become the most popular white wine in Italy, and also the most popular white wine in the U.S. However, because of its popularity, youll find an abundance of mass-produced bottles flooding the market. One of the easiest way to ensure that you are drinking a delicious, high-quality Pinot Grigio, is to avoid budget bottles. Rather, seek bottles that originate from the regions mentioned above, with a price tag north of $15.


    Fiano is a high-quality white grape variety grown widely in southern Italy . Fiano wine is nutty and textured, with floral and honeyed notes, spiced with a hint of stone fruit.

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