Welcome to Destination ItalyTravel Tips - Wine

Italy and Wine:

  • Italy's reputation as a wine producer is continually gaining more importance due not only to the fact that it produces and exports more than any other country but that it offers the greatest variety of types of wines, ranging through nearly every colour, style and flavour imaginable.

  • Wine is a very popular drink in Italy and many Italians drink it with every meal and in-between meals.

  • Italy's wines are divided into categories based on quality, purity and origin.

  • When shopping for a fine Italian wine, look for ones that have the designation of "Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita" - D.O.C.G. (See Wine Dictionary - "D") which is awarded to wines with a good reputation.

  • Tuscany is home to some of the finest Italian wines; Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino and the Chianti wines.

Wine Dictionary:

A |  B |  C | D | E | F |  G |  I |  L |  M |  N |  O |  P |  Q |  R |  S |  T |  U |  V |  Z


Abboccato: Medium sweet
Acerbo: Tart
Acescenza: Volatile
Aceto: Vinegar
Acidita': Acidity
Acido:: Acidic, vinegary tasting or smelling
Acquoso: Watery, thin wines with low flavor
Aglianico: Red grape grown in the Campania region (South of Naples)
Alcool: Alcohol
Amabile: Off dry (semi-sweet)
Amaro: Bitter
Annata: Vintage
Aperto: Open, well defined character
Appassimento: Drying grapes to concentrate sugar
Armonioso: Harmonious, balanced wine
Aromatico: Aromatic, pronounced aroma
Astringente: Astringent, high tannin content
Asciutto: Dry
Austero: Austere, bold complex fruity character
Azienda: vineyard or estate that grows all or most of its grapes to be bottled under its own labels



Barbera: Classic grape commonly grown in the Piedmont region (northern Italy)
Barolo: Top Piedmont red wine, made with the Nebbiolo grape
Bianco: White
Bilanciato: Balanced, many well combined harmonic elements
Botte: Cask
Botticella: small wine cask
Bottiglia: Bottle
Brunello di Montalcino: Top Tuscan red wine
Brut: Dry (used for sparkling wines)


Cantina: Celler, winery
Cantina Sociale: Co-operative winery
Caraffa di Decantazione: Decanter
Cascina: Farmhouse
Castello: Castle
Cerasuolo: Cherry coloured rosŤ wine from Sicily
Chiaretto: RosŤ wine from Garda
Chiuso: Closed, doesn't reveal its character
Classico: Classic, An original DOC wine from a typical region
Complesso: Complex, many combined aromas
Consorzio: Producers trade association
Corpo: Body, defines texture of a wine (light bodied, full-bodied, etc).
Cortese: White grape used in Piemonte
Corvina: Red grape used in the Veneto area for wine blends
Cotto: Cooked, a negative wine attribute, for wines made from overripe grapes



Debole: Weak, defines wines with low character
Delicato: Delicate, a wine with light balance and body
Distinto: Distinctive, refined, elegant wine
DOC: Abbreviation for "Denominazione di Origine Controllata" (controlled place of origin).
DOCG: Abbreviation for "Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita" (controlled and guaranteed place of origin). DOCG indicates the origins of a wine, the type of grapes used in making the wine and the methods of production.
Dolcetto: Dry red wine grown in Piedmont

Dolce: Sweet

Elegante: Elegant stylish wine
Enologo: Enologist(winemaker) with a college degree
Enoteca: Wine shop
Enotecnico: Wine technician with a diploma.
Etichetta: Label



Fattoria: Estate
Fiasco: Flask
Fermentazione naturale: Natural fermentation.
Fiorito: Flowery, taste of flowers
Forte: Strong wine with high alcohol content
Fresco: Fresh, with no defective aromas
Frascati: White wine from the Lazio Region
Freisa: Red grape used to make wines in Piemonte
Frizzante: Slightly sparkling
Frutta: Fruit
Fruttoso: Fruity taste of fruit and fresh grapes


Giovane: Young, immature fresh wine not fully aged and developed
Gradazione alcoolica: Alcoholic percentage.
Grappa: Italian strong liquor made with fermented grape skins
Grechetto: white grape used to make Orvieto wine



IGT: abbreviation for "Indicazione Geografica Tipica" or typical location name
Imbottigliato: bottled
Imbottigliato all'origine: Bottled by the producer
Invecchiato: aged


Leggero: Light, referring to low alcohol content
Legnoso: Woody, a defect of wines with wood taste
Liquoroso: Strong, often fortified, wine



Madre: Literally mother, the matrix or residue from earlier vintages
Malvasia: An ancient grape, cultivated in Europe for 2000 years!
Marchio: Brand name, trade mark
Marsalato: Wine that has oxidized, has dark color and cherry like taste
Maturo: Mature, Ripe and completely developed wine, ready for consumption.
Montepulciano: top red wine from Tuscany
Muffa: Moldy very bad defect of wine smelling like mold


Nebbiolo: Grape used to produce Barolo and Barbaresco wines in Piemonte
Nero: Black
Nobile: Noble, balanced wine, attributed to important vintage
Noce: Nutty, defines wines that taste like walnut or nut-like aroma



Ossidato: Oxidized, has dark color and cherry like taste


Passito: A sweet wine made in part from dried grapes
Piatto: Flat, dull, uninteresting wine
Podere: A small estate
Produttore: Producer
Profondo: Deep, with many layers of flavor
Proporzionato: Good proportion of aroma and alcohol



Quercia: Oak, taste that develops from aging wines in oak


Recioto: Sweet wine from the Veneto area, similar to Passito
Ricco: Rich and complex wine
Riserva: Reserve, for DOC wines, aged for a certain length of time
Robusto: Robust defines a full bodied wine
Rosato: RosŤ
Rosso: Red



Sangiovese: the main red grape varietal used in Tuscany
Sapore: flavour
Scelto: selected
Secco: dry
Semisecco: off dry, medium sweet
Soave: White wine from the Veneto
Solfato: Sulphur, an anti-oxidant used in making wine
Spesso: Thick, dense
Spessore: Thickness
Spumante: Sparkling wine
Stravecchio: Very old
Struttura: Structure, proportioned
Super Tuscan: refers to the new high quality styles of wine in Tuscany
Superiore: superior
Sviluppato: Developed, a mature pleasant



Tannino: Tannin, a natural component of red wines, found in the seed, skin and stems of grapes
Tappo: Cork. A very negative attribute of wine smelling of cork
Tenuta: Wine estate


Uva: Grape



Vecchio: Old
Vellutato: Velvety, defines smooth aroma.
Verde: Green, defines a wine made from unripe grapes
Vernaccia: White grape used in San Gimignano
Vigna, Vigneto: Vineyard
Vigoroso: Vigorous, defines wines with forward taste
Vinacce: Grape skins, seeds and pulp left after wine has been pressed, used to make grappa.
Vino da tavola: Table wine
Vino Novello: New wine, bottled less than a year
Vin Santo: Sweet wine from Tuscany

Vite: Vine
Viticoltore: Grape grower
Vitigno: Grape variety
Vivace: Lively, slightly sparkling, define wine with fresh content


Zolfo: Sulphur, an anti-oxidant used in making wine (see solfato)
Zuccheri Residui: Residual sugar


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