What are your favorite “off the beaten path” Italians?

Of course. Silly of me.

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I hate to nitpick but very obviously ArPePe is from Valtellina, not Alto Piemonte. I wouldn’t care otherwise but I am really fond of Valtellina, it is a magnificent area (that I have only very briefly visited and would love to return) with breathtakingly steep vineyards, great wines with a character of their own and great food thanks to it being such a favorable place for farming. In addition to ArPePe other names worth mentioning are Barbacan, Dirupi, Marco Ferrari and Mamete Prevostini.

As for other parts of Italy that fit the thread’s theme I have greatly enjoyed Foradori and San Leonardo from Trentino-Alto Adige. I’m a fan of Taurasi as well but boy do those wines need cellaring to reach their apogee.

You’re nitpicking. It’s only a short 5-hour drive between the 2 regions. :grin:

My turn to be fussy, you missed out Rainoldi, also in Valtellina.

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I’ve only tried Rainoldi (Inferno) once and it had a weird flaw that some around the table believed to be caused by malolactic fermentation. Smelled a bit like rancid butter.

Pianogrillo in Gulfi, Sicily does an ‘elevated’ Grillo called Flaneur- a short maceration on skins but it’s about as white as an ‘orange’ wine can be in both style and colour.

For what it’s worth if you visit Pianogrillo’s cellar all he wants to show you is his exceptional collection of Burgundy!

2020 Azienda Agricola Pianogrillo Grillo Flaneur - Italy, Sicily, Sicilia (15/11/2022)
I have a bias towards Pianogrillo but this was recommended to me - and what a pleasant surprise. It elevates Grillo to something noble.

Suggestions of skin contact. Textural and grippy- subtle white fleshed ripeness, some bruised apple and confit lemon, leesy. Pithy on the palate, a touch of butter, a thrum of acidity and a long finish.

What a wine- all sorts of interesting, unexpected and delicious. Serious winemaking from a lovely winemaker. (92 points)


Caruso & Minini is a Sicilian producer which makes a very good grillo, among others.They are reasonably easy to obtain in NY, don’t know about other places.

One place I haven’t seen mentioned is Calabria, a region whose wines are consistently good in my experience. Statti is not the best producer, but they are the easiest to find and offer good quality at a great value. And if you see the L’Acino Chora IGT grab it before someone else does. Finally, Ciro Classico in Calabria produces great gaglioppo. The ones from A Vita are a fine example and are widely distributed by Calabrian standards.


Ah, yes, of course. Thanks!

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Imagine the outrage if a Barolo producer was described as being from Barbaresco just 15 miles away! :rofl:

I think one of the most beautiful things about Italian wine is that the “off the beaten path” list is so extensive, and has so much quality, that just about anyone can have their own unique path. I am going to keep some of the answers very general as just grapes or regions, but the exploration is also half the fun anyway!

Negroamaro of Puglia
Timorasso of Piemonte
Picolit of Friuli Venezia Giulia (noble sweet wine, but it is also made dry)
Gaglioppo of Calabria (easy drinking lunch wine)
Barolo Chinato of Piemonte (a red vermouth made of DOCG Barolo)
Carignano of Sardegna
Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo of Toscana (Red Vin Santo dessert wine made of Sangiovese)
Recioto della Valpolicella of Veneto (Dessert wine thought to be the predecessor to Amarone)
Ciliegiolo of Toscana (early-midterm drinking red)

Producers/ Some of their wines
Gulfi’s Nero d’Avola Crus (Sicilia)
Salvatore Molettieri’s Aglianico (Campania)
Antoniollo’s Gattinara (Piemonte)
Paolo Bea’s Sagrantino, Santa Chiara, Passito…(Umbria)

Specific wines
Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Rye (Zibbibo)
Calabretta Nerello Mascalese Vigne Vecchie (Nerello Mascalese)
Rocca di Castagnoli Buriano (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Cortonesi Brunello di Montalcino La Mannella - (Sangiovese) Modern leaning
Rocca di Frassinello Maremma Toscana Le Sughere di Frassinello (Sangiovese Blend)
Lungarotti Torgiano Rosso Riserva Rubesco Vigna Monticchio (Sangiovese)
Lodali Barolo Bricco Ambrogio (Nebbiolo)
AR.PE.PE. Valtellina Superiore Il Pettirosso (Nebbiolo)


I couldn’t agree with this more. Lately, I’ve been thinking that if I was building my cellar from scratch, I would probably dedicate a much larger portion to Italian wines. As it stands, I’m planning to thin my cellar a bit and backfill with mostly Italians.


One mention so far of a wine from Aosta, the very worthy Fumin (Les Cretes and Grosjean are good producers, along with the Onze Communes Cooperative).

Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle!

Other good stuff from Aosta a little more available is Torrette.

Dan Kravitz


Oh, I like that one from Pavese.

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One of the best white wines in all of Italy!


Chateau Feuillet Torrette is solid!

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I had a pretty decent Italian section, complete mix up and down the boot. Over the years, for whatever reason, more US has ebbed in and I’ve not done my best to replenish Italian. That said, many great or just interesting Italian wines can be had for fair prices and I am getting to an age where I don’t want to have everything laying down for 20 years to be enjoyed. Reading this thread will have me recommit time to following through and can make a dent pretty quickly as I’m not starting from scratch. Guess my perspective is its never too late.

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If you’ve had good sparkling Moscato d’Asti and that appeals to you, there’s a red equivalent from the Brachetto grape. Brachetto d’Acqui and Birbet are fun wines for certain occasions, like a brunch. Very likeable for non-wine folks. Lightly fizzy, low alcohol, floral musque-y aromatics, lightly sweet. Apparently, Arturo Bersano invented this style in the 1970s. Bersano is one of the producers I’ve tried, and all have been excellent so far.

Yes, these have become my preferred ‘pick-me-up’ as an aperitivo drink in Italy. The sweetness helps re-energise if it’s been a busy day, whilst the low alcohol mitigates against drowsiness. Plus like Moscato, it’s wonderfully (and vibrantly ‘grapey’').

I’ve not yet tried the dry version, but do have a bottle of Sottimano’s version to try sometime.

I tried a dry one and was disappointed. It tasted very standard winemaking. Extractive and barrel aged, so musty/woody tannin and a severe loss of aromatics. Maybe age will bring it around, but to me, it misses the point of what the grape has to give. Flavor-wise, Brachetto is a dead ringer for Black Muscat. I made a dry version of that. My sensibility was to press early (7 days) to avoid any murky or tannic extraction. That yielded brilliant aromatics, but no body or structure. I had a 7 day skin contact Semillon I was making at the same time. Blending in to 10% of that did the trick. With only just enough tannin and those aromatics, there’s a perception of a delicate sweetness, but it’s dry.

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