The romance of Italian wine can be irresistible once you start fossicking around some of the most beautiful vineyards on the planet.

The Australian Wine Club, through our European connections, has put together a selection of seriously delicious Italian reds this week, covering four of the country’s leading wine regions. Let’s take a quick tour to better understand what’s in the bottle.

One of the hottest wine styles in recent years has been Barolo, with aficionados paying hundreds of dollars for a bottle of these intense reds.

Barolo is a tiny village in Piedmont in northwestern Italy, sandwiched between the foothills of the majestic Alps and the Mediterranean Sea.

Winemaking in the area around Barolo is controlled by the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the top classification for Italian wines. Under the DOCG, strict rules govern all aspects of wine production, including what varietals are allowed to be grown and how the wines are aged.

Just as Bordeaux in France focuses on cabernet sauvignon and related varietals, one of the Barolo DOCG’s main pursuits is creating excellent nebbiolo, the black grape that dominates a Barolo. A good Barolo shows characters of rose petals, tar, dried cherries, herbs and licorice, supported on the palate with robust tannins and refreshing acidity.

Piedmont is also well known for its barbera and dolcetto grapes, which are used to create lower-priced wines bursting with fruit flavours and ready to be enjoyed soon after bottling.

Heading southeast from Piedmont we soon come to the rolling countryside of Tuscany, one of Italy’s most famous (and beautiful) wine regions where the sangiovese grape is king. Two of Tuscany’s best known DOCGs are Chianti and Chianti Classico.

The Chianti Classico DOCG is a small winemaking area within the provinces of Siena and Florence and is located within the bigger Chianti DOCG area. Stricter winemaking rules are applied in Chianti Classico, where at least 80 per cent of the wine must be made from sangiovese.

Sangiovese is as Italian as a Ferrari and is adored for its bright refreshing acidity, sour cherry flavours and herbal Mediterranean notes of oregano and thyme.

Jumping back on the road, we head farther south and across to Italy’s east coast to sunny Puglia, the country’s second biggest winegrowing region behind Veneto.

We’ll find ripe fruit-driven reds based on primitivo (known as zinfandel in the US), negroamaro and susumaniello grapes. Apparently susumaniello, in the local dialect, means “loaded like a donkey” – thought to be a reference to the wine’s typically powerful aromas and flavour.

We can’t tour Italy without hopping across to Sicily, home to more than 65 native wine varieties and a winemaking history stretching back 3000 years.

From the snowy peaks of Mount Etna to the warm coastal areas, we’ll find wines to suit all palates: full-bodied reds made from the nero d’avola grape, racy whites such as those made of grillo and the iconic fortified wine Marsala.

Viva l’Italia!


Il Poeta Barolo 2019

Floral notes of dried violets and roses rise from the glass, along with cherry and coffee/mocha notes. Classic Barolo flavours of tar and roses, supported by vanilla spice, chewy tannins and hints of meaty pan juices and dried vanilla pod. Fine Barolo at a superb price. 14% alc; RRP $65 a bottle.

SPECIALS $59.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Italian dozen.

Selva del Moro Organic Chianti Classico 2020

Beautifully intense aromas of cherry and redcurrant fruit and spicy oak lead to a silky palate flowing with fresh cherry fruit, tobacco leaf and violet hints. A super fresh Tuscan treat. 14% alc; RRP $40 a bottle.

SPECIALS $34.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Italian dozen.

Pillastro Susumaniello 2021

From the sunny vineyards of Puglia. Aromas of cherries, prunes, fennel and spice set up for a rich and ripe palate dripping with cherry and chocolate flavours balanced by refreshing acidity. Velvety mouthfeel. 13.5% alc; RRP $30 a bottle.

SPECIALS $22.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Italian dozen.

Tenuta Fenice Nero d’Avola 2022

Aromas of cherry and blackberries, mingling with a touch of vanilla and graphite, welcome you to this super approachable Sicilian. Fresh, juicy and intense on the palate; fine soft tannins lead to a long finish. Classy winemaking by Dino Taschetta, whose family was forced to flee their village in 1968 when an earthquake struck western Sicily. Dino returned to find his grandfather’s “lost” vineyard and began making wines in 2017, which are winning great acclaim. 14% alc; RRP $26 a bottle.

SPECIALS $17.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $25.99 a bottle in Italian dozen.

ITALIAN DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $25.99 a dozen. SAVE $171 a dozen.

Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.