Five Italian Whites Beyond Pinot Grigio

“A bottle of red, a bottle of white. Whatever kind of mood you're in tonight.” While plenty of red options abound, from Barolo to Chianti Classico to Amarone della Valpolicella , you might imagine that if Billy Joel was in the mood for a bottle of white, he may be forced to stick to Pinot Grigio at his Italian Restaurant. While red wines may steal the spotlight in the Italian aisle or in many collectors’ cellars, Pinot Grigio isn’t the only white export worth considering. True, the best Pinot Grigios are a far cry from the innocuous stuff that fills supermarket shelves, but Italy is home to one of the world’s most exciting and diverse white wine cultures – and one that often gives rise to stunning values. Break out of the Pinot Grigio rut and see what the rest of Italy has to offer with these five white wines. Arneis Piedmont is home to two of Italy’s most iconic red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. Moscato d’Asti also hails from this northern region, but have you tried Arneis? Antonio Galloni calls Arneis, “a fragrant, aromatic white with no pretensions of profoundness that is, however, absolutely delicious if enjoyed a year or two after bottling.” The grape is most commonly found in Roero, although winemakers from California to Australia have begun cultivating Arneis. Orvieto With its iconic cathedral and ancient Etruscan ruins, the walled, hilltop town of Orvieto is one of Italy’s most idyllic attractions. It’s also the name of “one of Italy’s most historic wines and wine-production zones,” says Ian D’Agata. Orvieto is made primarily from Grechetto and Trebbiano, grown in the vineyards surrounding the Umbrian city. While “usually uncomplicated,” D’Agata admits “the best examples are also surprisingly age-worthy.” Soave When you think of wine from the Veneto, Prosecco or Amarone might quickly come to mind. Yet one of Italy’s most popular white wines, Soave, is made just west of Verona from, mostly, the Garganega grape. The wine is aptly named, recalling the soft, suave texture on the palate. Ian D’Agata writes, “Soave’s generally light, floral personality is readily understood by novices and experts alike.” While plenty of simple, fruity examples of basic Soave can be found on the market, look for bottles labeled “Soave Classico,” the historic heart of the region where the best wines are grown. Verdicchio Native to the Marche, the central Italian region bordering the Adriatic Sea, Verdicchio gets its name from the word “verde,” or “green.” “Even with age, Verdicchio wines never lose their green tinge,” says Ian D’Agata. The Marche is home to two famous appellations for the grape, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica. According to D’Agata, “The wines of Matelica are recognizably higher in acidity and more minerally than the more floral and fruity wines of the Castelli di Jesi.” Fiano Ian D’Agata writes, “Most experts agree that Fiano is probably Italy’s single greatest native white grape variety.” The grape is grown primarily in Avellino, about thirty miles northeast of Naples. We’re lucky to still have Fiano around today – the variety nearly went extinct before the 1950s. Fiano thrives in high altitudes, where, according to D’Agata, “the wines are steely, lean and loaded with nectarine and green apple.” Do you have a go-to Italian white wine? We’d love to see what’s in your glass. Scan the bottle and add your tasting notes on Delectable!

Bruno Giacosa

Roero Arneis 2016

2016- pale yellow color, smooth texture, flavors of Chardonnay, honey, light fruit. Refreshing and capable as aperitif or delightful with fish or pasta.
Will buy again ! Recommend.
— 2 years ago

Maria, Jeff and 1 other liked this

Graziano Prà

Monte Grande Soave Classico Garganega 2014

This is probably one of the best Soave I ever had, perfect match with a Pepe e Cacio dish. Wow! — 3 years ago

Pievalta (Barone Pizzini)

Classico Superiore Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2014

2014. Lime peels and an Adriatic breeze. Brassy. My white wine of the summer. — 4 years ago

Ted, J and 4 others liked this

Ciro Picariello

Ciro 906 Fiano di Avellino 2013

Sheer delight. Nose of cut white peach and ripening apricot, medium to full texture, sudden lift of salinity and a long finish that makes you come back for more. Dry and complex, everything a white should be. From the higher altitude vineyards of this producer and the premium bottling — 2 years ago

Azienda Agricola Cornarea

Roero Arneis 2014

Andrew Holod
8.9

Creamy, pale orchard fruits and a vastly creamy texture. Why would anyone drink Chardonnay instead? — 3 years ago

Maria and Madalin liked this
Andrew Holod

Andrew Holod Influencer Badge

@Delectable Wine Cornarea Arneis DOC Roero 2014

Filippi

Colli Scaligero Castelcerino Soave Garganega 2015

Bright straw green. On the palate melon, green apple, peach apples. clean long fresh honeyed note at the back. lovely & one of my favorite Souve
— 3 years ago

Maria and Kelly liked this

Bisci

Verdicchio di Matelica 2015

Sweet mint and underripe stone fruit on the nose, but also some salty mineral notes too. Mid-weight is round and juicy with almost enough acid to bring it all around. Love the producer, wines are super consistent. Entry level bottle that punches above its weight. Verdicchio needs some more respect. — 3 years ago

Shawn, Les and 7 others liked this

Marchesi Antinori

San Giovanni della Sala Orviéto Classico Superiore Grechetto Blend 2014

Brilliant in color with yellow-greenish highlights. The nose expresses fruity notes, particularly peach, pineapple, and citrus fruit. The structure and the acidity is in nice balance with a savory and vibrant aftertaste of fine length and persistence.
— 3 years ago

Inama

Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico Garganega 2014

Striking gold colour with delicate citrus zest bouquet. Crisp, dry and refreshing with slightly buttery lemon and orange zest flavour - almost meursault-esque. Good to drink standalone or with pasta /chicken dishes. Recommended and very good value. — 4 years ago

Maria liked this

Il Tufiello

Don Chisciotte Campania Fiano 2010

Livia Alyson Careaga
9.0

2010 - Crazy Great Wine! A bit of young white dry sherry. Odd and compelling Fiano from Irpinia. — 4 years ago

Josh and Lance liked this
MICHAEL COOPER

MICHAEL COOPER Influencer Badge

It can't be #Sherry if it's not from #jerez and if it resembles sherry it is because it has acetyl dehide and is most likely #oxidized
Livia Alyson Careaga

Livia Alyson Careaga Influencer Badge

It is a sensation obviously;and it it not oxidized.