Close up of bottles on their side on a wine rack

Dry Italian Wines

With 20 wine regions, 350 wine varieties and a rumoured 2,000 different types of grapes, it is hard to pin down the top dry Italian wines. Generally they are all dry, though you do encounter wines with more residual sugar. To know if the wine your drinking is a sweeter wine, look at the label for something that says Dolce – that means sweet in Italian. Below is our round up of six great dry Italian wines to taste when in Rome, or just pretending to be.

The Whites

Gavi di Gavi

Situated in northern Italy, surrounding the township of Gavi, grows the Cortese grape – a dry Italian grape with notes of lemon, apple, almon and sea spray. This is a wonderful food wine, born to be drunk with a Pesto alla Genovese pasta dish, and provides excellent value for money.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of Italy’s most exported wines. It is exceptionally dry, with citrus, pear and some honeyed tones on the palate combined with bright acidity. It’s easy to get a bottle of this for next to nothing, and goes with just about anything, especially vegetarian fare.


Largely found on the idyllic island of Sardinia (where one of the largest communities of centenarians exists) as well as the rolling hills of Tuscany. It can be both oaked and un-oaked and has a unique almond flavour with herbal accents. Brilliant with herbaceous salads and grilled fish.

The Reds


This full-bodied dry Italian wine is hailed as the Wine of Kings. Made from the Nebbiolo grape, which is thick-skinned and notoriously high in acid and tannin, and often compared to Burgundy’s Pinot Noirs for their floral and earthy aromas. Because of their distinguishing acidity, these wines can last for over 20 years. If you’re feeling decadent, pair this with some truffles.

Brunello di Montalcino

Made 100% with Sangiovese (most well-known for playing a key role in Chianti) and grown in Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcinos are big and bold, with plenty of tannin. They are dry with flavours of red and black berries, liquorice, espresso and violet. Many say it is one of the wines to try in your lifetime.


Predominately a blend of four grapes: Corvina, Corvinone, Molinara and Rondinella and produced in Veneto – up in the north of Italy near the Swiss Alps. It is a great value buy, and if you’re willing to pay a bit extra in price, go for Amarone della Valpolicella, made with a method that partially dries the grapes to give big fruit flavours with more depth. Valpolicella is known for its tangy red fruit flavours, especially sour cherry. It’s a great alternative to Beaujolais or even Pinot Noir.

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