Are you a white wine lover? Before moving to Italy, Liv was a little bit snobby about her white wine. Simply put, she thought the French did it better. But as she was about to discover, Italy makes delicious white wines. You just need to know where to look!
So pull out your phone and get ready to add a few wines to your notes section, so you can order Italian white wine with confidence when you’re traveling in Italy.
While red wines like Barolo and Chianti have long held the spotlight, we want to help you discover secret Italian white wines that are just as exciting and delicious as red. If you’re a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc drinker, you’ll be pleased to know that Italy does make these international varieties. Let us tell you about the best ones and then introduce you to some native white Italian wine worth trying.
How to say white wine in Italian?
First things first – you’ll want to look out for vini bianchi on your menu! If you’d like to order a glass or a bottle, this is how you say it:
- Vorrei un calice di vino bianco: I would like a glass of white wine
- Vorrei una bottiglia di vino bianco: I would like a bottle of white wine
What are the best Italian white wine regions?
Every region of Italy grows wine and all of them inevitably also produce white wine. That said, some regions are better for white wines than others. Generally, white wines from the North will have a lower alcohol content (thanks to cooler temperatures), whilst wines from the South will be bigger and more alcoholic (warmer temperatures).
When it comes to the best white wine from Italy, it really depends what you like to drink. For ‘international’ wines like pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, you can’t beat Northern Italian white wines. Central Italy produce some delicious fuller bodied styles we love and some that are relatively unknown outside of the country. Whilst the South produce fruity, mineral white wines often grown on volcanic soils.
What are the main Italian white wine varietals?
- Piedmont: Arneis and Timorasso
- Val d’Aosta: Chardonnay
- Lombardy: Turbiana (Lugana DOC)
- Trentino Alto Adige: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
- Friuli Venezia Giulia: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc
- Liguria: Vermentino
- Veneto: Soave
- Tuscany: Vernaccia di San Gimignano
- Umbria: Orvieto Classico
- Marche: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
- Abruzzo: Pecorino
- Puglia: Verdecca
- Sardinia: Vermentino
- Sicily: Grillo, Etna Bianco
- Campania: Fiano and Falanghina
The best Italian white wine to swirl, swish and sip
Here’s our 101 breakdown of the best dry Italian white wine to try! It’s not an exhaustive list, but a selection of Italian white wines that we think you will enjoy.
1. Italian Pinot Grigio wine
Let’s start with one of the most well-known wines in the world – pinot grigio or pinot gris. The best varieties are from the north, but be a bit careful when ordering this as there are many disappointing, mass produced versions in Italy. Look for a pinot grigio from Friuli’s Collio region for the very best examples of Italian pinot grigio.
- Color: pale straw color
- Style: refreshing and crisp
- Flavor: green apple, pear, and citrus
2. Italian Sauvignon Blanc
The best are from Friuli and Alto Adige. In Italy, sauvignon blanc has lively citrus notes, along with hints of green herbs and tropical fruits. If you like New. Zealand style Sav, try ones from Friuli for a somewhat similar full bodied style. In Friuli, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with a variety with more floral characteristics called Friulan.
If you like Sauvignon from Napa Valley, look out for Tuscan Sauvignon. Think nectarine, white peach, honey and lemon curd.
- Color: Straw yellow
- Style: Intensely aromatic and fresh
- Flavor: lime, passionfruit, lemon zest and pink grapefruit
3. Soave Italian wine
Soave is one of the most famous Italian wines white in the whole world, mainly thanks to the fact that it’s highly exported to the USA. You will pretty much find it on any wine list no matter where you are in Italy! Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave are the grapes that go into this one from the Veneto region.
There are 2 types to look out for – Soave Classico DOCG or the Superiore version if you’re after something more full-bodied. Grown in the volcanic soils around the town of Soave, these wines with intriguing mineral notes and a delicate almond undertone.
- Color: Pale yellow
- Style: Fresh and vibrant
- Flavor: Mineral, zesty and floral
4. Italian Chardonnay
The best come from Trentino Alto-Adige, Lombardy and Friuli. You can find Chardonnay the French style (in stainless steel) or more full bodied like a lot of Australians especially like (aged in Oak). In the north, you’ll find Chardonnays with crisp acidity and vibrant mineral notes, while those from the south often display riper fruit flavors and a more rounded mouthfee
- Color: Straw yellow
- Style: Crisp and mineral
- Flavor: Floral and citrus
5. Italian Gavi wine
Back in our beloved Piedmont region, the most famous white wine is Gavi. Made using the Cortese grape, it’s named for the charming town Gavi in which it grows. This wine is crisp and refreshing and easy-drinking. It’s a relatively inexpensive wine but you can find more expensive aged bottles.
- Color: With a pale straw color
- Style: Great for aperitivo
- Flavor: white flowers, green apple, and citrus zest, almond and a touch of salinity.
6. Pecorino wine Italy
We’re talking about wine not cheese! This one is native to the Abruzzo region and totally delicious. The name is thought to come because some say the grape is shaped like the head of a sheep and in Italian, pecora means sheep! There’s another story about shepherds bringing their sheep down the valley where the grapes were grown on the way to Puglia too and the sheep would eat the grapes.
These wines often showcase ripe stone fruit aromas, floral notes, and a captivating mineral character. Pecorino wines boast a vibrant acidity that makes them an excellent companion for seafood and lighter dishes. With its intriguing name and captivating flavors, Pecorino wines continue to capture the attention of wine enthusiasts worldwide. You can enjoy it young OR aged too.
- Color: Deep yellow
- Style: Full-bodied, good food wine
- Flavor: Herbal, green fig, peach and yellow melon
7. Vermentino Italy
Vermentino is best from Liguria or Sardinia. It’s not one of the most grown grapes, but it is one of the most well-known. In Liguria alone Vermentino is found in 4 different DOCs (Riviera ligure di ponente, Colli di Luni, Golfo del Tigullio e Valpolcevera). It’s fresh, fruity and has a good minerality thanks to the sea breeze.
Vermentino from Liguria tends to be lighter than that of Sardinia. Here, the warm Mediterranean climate gives the wine riper tropical fruit flavors, floral aromatics, and a fuller body.
- Color: Straw yellow
- Style: Ranges from light and fresh to full bodied styles
- Flavors: citrus, green apple in Liguria or tropical and floral in Sardinia
8. Orvieto Classico White Wine
Orvieto Classico is one of our favorite wines from Umbria. It uses Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes and is wonderfully floral with a really good acidity. It’s often compared to unoaked Chardonnay or a little similar to a pinot grigio – but a lot more interesting we think!
- Color: straw yellow
- Style: light and drinkable
- Flavor: tropical, citrus, herbal and floral
Want to learn more about Umbrian wines? Join Liv on a 7 day tour in Umbria with Untold Italy. We’ll show you the highlights of this gorgeous central Italian region whilst wining and dining our way around. Find out more now!
9. Italian white wine Falanghina
Traveling to the Amalfi Coast? You can’t leave without trying the delicious wine that’s made right there! This style of wine making is so hard (up the sides of cliffs and impossible to use machinery) that it’s called ‘heroic winemaking’. Think white flowers and exotic fruits whilst you’re sipping. It’s at its best when young.
- Color: straw yellow
- Style: fresh and easy to drink
- Flavor: ripe citrus, tropical fruits, and delicate florals
10. Grillo Italian wine
Let’s take a dive south into Sicily where Grillo reigns supreme on the West Coast of the island especially around Trapani. We discovered this wine on our trip there this year and love how vibrant, mineral and fresh it is. If you like fruity wines that pair well with seafood or are easy drinking on a warm summer’s day, this is it.
- Color: pale gold
- Style: fruity wine
- Flavor: citrus, ripe tropical fruit and herbal notes
Want to learn more about Sicilian wines? Join Liv on an 8 day tour in West Sicily with Untold Italy. We’ll show you the highlights of the West Coast whilst wining and dining our way around. Find out more now!
11. Italian Verdicchio
One of of the most underated and lesser known regions when it comes to wine is Le Marche on the central Eastern coast of Italy. Their best wine is Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and it is seriously delicious. We love that you can drink it young or even age it for a bolder depth of character.
- Color: Straw yellow
- Style: Under the radar wine
- Flavor: apricots, peach, bitter almonds, green apples, citrus blossoms, mineral
12. White wine from San Gimignano Italy
Did you know that infamous San Gimignano (the medieval Tuscan town that’s probably on your must-see list!) produces a delicious white wine? Whilst Tuscany is not known for whites, this is definitely one to look out for (as well as those in the Maremma, but that’s another story).
Incredibly, this white wine from the rolling hills was actually one of Italy’s first DOC wines and dates back to medieval times. Crafted primarily from the Vernaccia grape, it was a favorite of the Pope’s during the 1500s. Make sure you ask for Vernaccia di ‘San Gimignano’ specifically when ordering.
- Color: Pale gold to golden when aged
- Style: Crisp and ideal for an aperitif
- Flavor: white flowers, citrus fruits, and subtle almond
13. Italian Fiano
In the volcanic soils of Campania, delicious things grow! Like their famous Fiano wine. You want to look out for Fiano di Avellino rather than any old Fiano too. Think of this wine as a little like an unoaked Chardonnay.
- Color: Pale yellow
- Style: Easy summer drinking
- Flavor: pear, hazelnuts, almond, floral and herbal
14. Italian white wine trebbiano
Trebbiano is produced in nearly every region of Italy and produces nearly a third of the country’s wine! Depending on where it grows, it shows different characteristics. You’ll find it especially in Tuscany where it’s known as Trebbiano Toscano. This one won’t pair well with spicy foods but instead goes well with cheeses and white meats.
- Color: Pale straw
- Style: perfect for aperitivo it’s fresh and fruity
- Flavor: peach, lemon, basil, and apple
15. White wine from Puglia Italy
Puglia was once known as pure bulk wine, used to cut wines from the rest of Italy. However, it is fast becoming a real up-and-coming wine region! Our favorite is the Verdecca white wine from Puglia. It’s really aromatic and refreshing with a medium body that make it great with food.
- Color: Green gold
- Style: Fruity, it’s a great food wine
- Flavor: ripe yellow fruits, pineapple, chamomile, green apple, herbs
Want to learn more about Pugliese wines? Join Liv on a 7 day tour in Puglia with Untold Italy. We’ll show you the highlights of Puglia and visit Bari, Lecce, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Martina Franca, Grottaglie, Matera and more. We’ll wine and dine our way around this gorgeous region while enjoying unforgettable experiences together. Find out more now!
Discovered something new in our guide to Italian white wines? Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite!