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9 Italian Wines Perfect for Valentine's Day

Eataly Magazine (February 08, 2019)
Choosing the right bottle of wine for Valentine’s Day can not only be difficult – it can be downright daunting. After all, there are so many factors to think about. What will your partner think of the wine you’ve chosen? Will one bottle say too much, while another say too little? And most importantly, will the wine match your current relationship status and the food you’re pairing it with? Fear not, amici. We've asked our wine experts to give us some advice on choosing the perfect wine so that you can enjoy love at first sip.

If You’re Going On a First Date

First dates can be awkward. While trying not to stumble over your words, you want to be thoughtful and show your date you really care, without investing too much. To make the right impression, we suggest starting with a vino that’s light, young, and easygoing. See our top picks below.

Serafini & Vidotto Bollicine di Prosecco, Veneto

Bubbly and refreshing, prosecco is just what you need to start the night off right. We’re head over heels for this bottle, which exudes dreamy notes of honey, yeast, and pear. It’s light with a pleasant finish – just like any good first date should be!

Excellent on its own as an appetizer, this prosecco also pairs well with light seafood dishes.

La Mozza Sangiovese, Toscana

The sheer fact that this wine can be paired with fun, down-to-earth foods like pizza and barbecue makes this our top pick for any first date. Made from 85% Morellino grapes (the local name for Sangiovese), it’s juicy, bright, with intriguing undertones of spice and licorice.

Pairs well with tomato-based pizza and grilled pork.

Murgo Brut Rosé NV, Sicilia

If you need a slightly more sophisticated touch, this sparkling rosé will surely impress. Made with 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes, this Sicilian wine boasts fine bubbles with delicate aromas of raspberry and cherries reminiscent of its origins in Mount Etna. At first sip, it tastes of red berries, rose, and pomegranate with a fine, yet intense persistence, thanks to its 20-day fermentation period.

Pairs well with seafood dishes like pesce crudo or spaghetti con frutti di mare.

If You’re in a Young Relationship

Ah yes – the budding of a new love! By now you know your partner fairly well and are able to distinguish his or her tastes. You’re committed and want to show you care by choosing a bottle to match your plans and your partner’s preferences – just so long as it’s not overdone. Nothing screams desperate like trying too hard to impress.

Borgogno Langhe Nebbiolo, Piemonte 

Langhe Nebbiolo is a wine that reveals early emotions. Think of it as a blossoming relationship – it shows good potential of what it will become in three years’ time. Hailing from one of Piemonte’s most touted winemaking areas, this wine is fermented for 15 days at low temperatures before it’s soft pressed and aged in large Slavonian oak casks for at least 10 months. The result is a young, yet refined red with fruity and spicy notes. It’s easy to drink, but also ages well should you want to save it for a special occasion down the road.

Pairs well with hearty, winter foods like braised meats, cheese, polenta, and roasted root vegetables.

Campi Valerio Fannia Falanghina, Molise 

Trust us when we say this is not your average vino. Particularly pleasant and elegant, Fannia is made from a selection of the best Falanghina grapes in one of Italy’s most obscure regions: Molise. At first sip, this white is well-balanced and harmonious with aromas of salt, musk, and apples. However, as time goes on, exotic notes of tropical fruit, pineapple, and vanilla begin to emerge, leaving behind a lingering freshness and tasty finish.

Pairs well with cured meats, light cheese, and fresh fish.

Bucci Rosso Piceno, Le Marche 

A blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes, this unique red is a well-balanced type. The softness of Sangiovese accentuates the intensity of Montepulciano tannins, giving it a harmonious, drinkable personality – especially when it’s slightly chilled.

Pair with roast white meat, pasta and beans, and mushroom soup.

If You’re Committed to the Long Run

You’ve said forever and know your amore better than anyone else. What better way to express your deep, complex feelings than with a wine that’s equally as deep and complex? Below are some of our favorite wines for those looking to sip something slightly more mature.

Gonzaga San Leonardo, Trentino

A powerful yet elegant red, San Leonardo is a harmonious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, and Merlot aged in small oak barrels for 18 to 24 months. This mature vino is full-bodied, warm, and impressively rounded, with intense aromas that linger on the palate.

Pairs well with roasted duck, lamb, aged cow’s milk cheeses, truffles, and dark chocolate. 

Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino, Toscana

This bold red comes from the much-lauded Montalcino area of Toscana, known for its production of Sangiovese grapes (known as Morellino in the area). The grapes undergo an extended maceration period before it aged for at least two years in oak barrels. As a result of this long maturation period, the wine boasts of cherry flavors and mouth-gripping tannins that become softer as it ages in the bottle. In other words, it takes a while to get to know this vino but once you do, you’ll see just how commitment pays off.

Pairs well with heavy meat dishes, mushroom, sauces, hearty pasta, Pecorino Toscano, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Mirafiore Barolo Lazzarito, Piemonte

Known as “The King of Wines,” Barolo is made from 100% Nebbiolo grape from the Piemonte region, Barolo is known as “The King of Wines.” Swoon. This particular bottle full-bodied, powerful, with complex flavors. Featuring typical ruby red hues shot through with garnet glints, this wine expresses itself through a focused fragrance containing vanilla, spice, woodland scents and faded rose. On the palate, the taste is dry but mellow nonetheless, pleasantly velvety and harmonious, with a generously persistent finale.

Pairs well with braised meats, hearty pasta, risotto dishes, and truffles.

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