Where else, besides Italy, you can find such a great variety of autochthonous * grape varieties and the stylistic variety of wines created from them. And although almost every commune in this country can boast of its original wine variety, the southern Italian regions are still the true champions in this regard.

Recently, the attention of wine experts and wine lovers is more and more attracted not by the comprehensively tried and sometimes pretty boring international grape varieties, but by rare, non-replicated wines created on the basis of local varieties. There is nothing to be surprised at. The organoleptic ** parameters of the autochthonous vitis vinifera *** are sometimes so unique that it is almost impossible to find them in other variable versions of other regions. This is what makes many wine enthusiasts go to the south of Italy in search of new experiences, and southern Italian winemakers, in turn, make more and more active attempts to revive the historical wine zones.

However, the south of Italy is notable not only for its autochthonous wealth. The local winemaking bears a large imprint of the antique, more precisely, the Greek heritage, which allows you to create a real wine exclusive. For many wine lovers, southern wines are also interesting because they are a memorable pair to a variety of Mediterranean dishes and – last but not least – a decent ratio of price and quality that has recently increased. No wonder. The best oenologists of Italy embody their ideas here with no less enthusiasm than, for example, in Tuscany. And this is already a sufficient reason to stay longer in the sunny Italian south.



This region of Italy, whose capital is the famous Naples, stretches along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea: from Lazio in the north to Basilicata in the southwest. In the east, the region is bordered by Molise and Apulia. Mount Vesuvius to the south forms soils ideal for the cultivation of both red and white grape varieties. Cool sea breezes and gentle slopes of the foothills of the Apennines also contribute to the cultivation of quality grapes.

There are only four types of DOCG status autochthonous wines in Campania, which include two reds (Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno) and two whites (Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo). The most famous wines of this region are also Falanghina del Taburno, Coda di Volpe, Falerno del Massico, Lacrima Cristi, Piedirosso, Gragnano and Asprigno d’Aversa. Taurasi DOCG deserves special mention – the most prestigious wine-growing area in southern Italy. In fact, Taurasi is a small remote village that no one would have known about if one of the noblest southern Italian varieties, the red Aglianico, had not been grown here. It is often compared to the great Piedmontese Nebbiolo and is often referred to as the “Barolo of the South”. The best examples of wines created from this variety – rich, austere, but at the same time elegant, with a characteristic shade of violets in the aroma – require ten years, and often twenty years of aging.

Campania, like no other Italian region, has a huge variety of autochthonous varieties, of which there are about a hundred. The main traditional local grape varieties of this area are the following: Aglianico, Fiano, Albano, Aleatico, Bambino, Falanghila, Shashinozo (Sciascinoso), Piedirosso and, of course, Greco di Tufo. By the way, from history: Pliny the Elder wrote that wine from Greco di Tufo was so revered and prestigious that during the feast it was poured only once.


Calabria occupies the southernmost part of the Apennine Peninsula, and the coast connects the beaches of two seas at once: the Tyrrhenian and Ionian. In the north, the region is bordered by Basilicata.

The wines of Calabria are not well known outside the region, as the mountainous terrain of this area is not very suitable for extensive viticulture. The best are local brands of the DOC category: Bivongi, Donnici, Greco di Bianco, Lamezia, Melissa, Pollino, Savuto, Scavigna, Verbicaro. However, Calabria also has its own “jewel” – the dessert Moscato di Saracena, which has no analogue anywhere in the world. This amber wine with rich tones of honey, dried figs and exotic fruits has been served since ancient times to the table of the popes. It is produced according to a special old technology based on Malvasia, Odoacra and Guarnaccia.

Of the local grape varieties, Magliocco Dolce is actively cultivated in the region, which should not be confused with Magliocco Canino – this is a completely different variety, although it is also Calabrian. Magliocco has a medium acidity and tannin level and is often used in assemblies. The most famous Calabrian wine is Ciro from the Crotone province, based on the Gaglioppo variety. Like Magliocco, it would be more correct to call this variety typical rather than autochthonous. Recent DNA research indicates that Gaglioppo is most likely one of many Sangiovese clones. A third theory is that this is the result of cross-pollination between Sangiovese and an unknown variety from Greece. Gaglioppo, grown on sandy and chalky soils, produces very expressive, strong and tannic wines with a sweet berry aroma and a resinous tone. By the way, from history: it was this wine that was once presented to the winners of the ancient Olympics as a reward.



This southern region of Italy is located on the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea. The local lands are rocky and poor, and therefore the region does not have a developed wine industry. The most prestigious wine in this area is Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG (in Superiore and Superiore Riserva versions). The Aglianico grape for this rare volcanic wine is grown at an altitude of 600 meters on the slope of the extinct volcano Vulture. The region has 1 DOCG (since 2015), 4 DOC and 1 IGT. The best Basilicata wines are created at two wineries – Fratelli d’Angelo and Paternoster.



“A thirsty land, where the sun makes wine” – this is how Dante Alighieri wrote about Puglia. This one of the most wine-producing regions in Italy is located in the extreme southeast of the country, where it borders Molise in the northwest, Campania and Basilicata in the west and is washed by the Adriatic Sea in the east and north and the Ionian Sea in the south. More than half of the territory is in the plains, the rest is covered with hills. The local soils are formed on lime deposits. The climate is hot and dry.

Apulia ranks first in the country in terms of the area of ​​vine plantations, production of table grapes and wine. Therefore, it is rightly considered the “wine cellar” of Italy. In the recent past, this region specialized in the production of cheap wine and wine materials, but in recent years the winemaking of Puglia has significantly improved its quality and has taken a strong position in the Italian oenological market. This was facilitated by the amazing autochthonous varieties, climatic conditions, expansion of production, as well as the undoubted value of local terroirs. The region is famous for its Apulian varieties such as Primitivo, Negramaro, Uva di Troia. In the north of Apulia, in Daunia, white wines are made from the local Bombino Bianco and the rare red autochthonous Tucanese and Susumaniello (aka Somarello), whose name from the local dialect translates as “laden donkey”. However, the most famous variety in this region is the red Primitivo. The wine made from it has an intense ruby ​​hue and a bright individual aroma. The taste is tannic, rich, fruity, slightly sweet, balanced. It can be used both young and mature. The region is symbolized by the wines Primitivo di Manduria DOC and Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale, which recently received DOCG status, created in the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto.


Based on materials from Sicilia en Primeur 2016

It is Sicily that is considered the largest wine-growing region in Italy. More than a hundred grape varieties are cultivated here, from which a variety of and often unique wines are produced.

The main vineyards of Sicily are concentrated in the west, where the best wines have been produced for a long time. This is the land of white grape varieties. Reds traditionally dominate in the east. The most famous wine of the western part of the island is the sweet fortified wine Marsala DOC, which is called the “Sicilian sun” here and is made from a mixture of red and white varieties. This wine is also allowed to be made in the province of Trapani, with the exception of the eastern commune of Alcamo and the island territories.

White varieties Catarratto, Insolia, Grillo are the main ones in the provinces of Trapani and Palermo. By the way, Trapani is also famous for its wine Moscato di Pantelleria: from sparkling versions to fortified ones.

The wines of the central part of the island, thanks to the vineyards located on the slopes of the mountains, are characterized by freshness and elegance (compared to wines from the coastal zones).

The southeastern lands near Syracuse are the hottest part of Sicily. It produces sweet white and light red fruit wines from the local Frappato variety.

The Aeolian Islands produce white wines, passito and fortified. The glory of the islands is Malvasia delle Lipari. On the island of Pantelleria, the famous Passito di Pantelleria, one of the best Muscat wines in Italy, is made from the Zibibbo variety (assimilated Alexandrian muscat).

Etna DOC, due to the mineralogical composition of the soil and good microclimate, is rich in white and red wines, distinguished by an extraordinary richness of taste palette and aromas.

However, connoisseurs of rich tannin wines, teeming with spicy and tobacco flavors, will most likely appreciate Nerello Mascalese, a leading grape from the slopes of Etna. Its wines are excellent at their best.

Sicily also has rare autochthonous varieties such as Damaschino, Grecanico, Minnella, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera and Perricone. Meeting them is always intriguing. Perhaps because some of them can only be tried once in a lifetime.

And yet the most popular varieties in Sicily are the white Catarratto and the red Nero d’Avola – “true Sicilian”. It is used to create both everyday wines and complex wines with great storage potential. Historically, the southeastern part of Sicily, including the lands around Syracuse and Ragusa, is considered the birthplace of Nero d’Avola.

The regional appellation DOC Sicilia appeared quite recently – in 2011, before that it had the IGT category. The only wine with DOCG status is Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Its creation is based on the balance of powerful Nero d’Avola and soft Frappato. This wine-growing area is located in the southeast of the island, in the provinces of Ragusa, Caltanissetta and Catania.



The second-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. The climate is hot and dry in summer, mild and windy in winter. The soils are varied. The grapes have been cultivated in Sardinia since time immemorial. But only in recent years, the local winemaking has undergone revolutionary changes that continue to this day. For example, a 2012 decree states that now these wines can only be bottled on the island, which, of course, affects their quality and price.

The island’s most iconic grape varieties are the red Cannonau (aka French Grenache), believed to be the oldest wine in the Mediterranean, as well as the white indigenous Vermentino, on the basis of which the status wine Vermentino di Gallura DOCG is created. “Donkey” this variety on the island in the XVIII century, having made its transition from the Iberian Peninsula through Corsica to Santa Teresa Gallura – the most picturesque place in northern Sardinia. Vermentino is characterized by large berries that fit tightly to each other in bunches. The wine has a rich straw-yellow hue and a soft, but complex taste. A bright aroma with invariable nuances of macchia (maquis) – evergreen shrubs of the Sardinian Mediterranean – the most “native” of its characteristics. Another interesting local white variety is Nuragus. It was brought to Sardinia by the Phoenicians, and since then the Sardis also rightfully consider it theirs.

* Autochthonous varieties – local grape varieties cultivated for a long time in a particular region.

** The term used to designate the totality of aroma and taste parameters of wine.

*** Vitis vinifera – the name given to the grape by the Romans and preserved by botanists, means a type of perennial shrub lianas from the genus Vitis (grapes) of the grape family, the berries of which are suitable for making wine.