When was the last time you had a wine that knocked your socks off? The kind that wakes every last taste bud and leaves you longing for just one more sip - we’re talking “lick the bottom of the glass when nobody’s looking” good. If you’re having trouble remembering, then it time you explore the great wines of Italy.

Is there anyone that knows food and wine better then the Italians? Italy, the world’s largest wine producing country, is constantly raising the bar on what a great wine should be. From the dynamic Barolos of Northern Italy to the bold and spicy Super Tuscans, Italian wines have a unique and expressive personality.

The Great Barolos:
In the Northern region of Italy lies Piedmonte, a town at the foot of the Alps that is home to some of the best wines Italy has to offer. The Nebbiolo grape is used to make Barolo, and the wines from this grape are so dynamic, bursting with flavors. At first sip you may taste wild berries and spices, then chocolate and mint. For Gothamist, that is one of the marks of a great wine – a wine that unfolds itself and presents different flavors or facets of its personality to you as you drink it.
Our Picks:

  • Luciano Sandrone, Barolo, $129 (if someone else is paying of course)
  • Attilio Ghisolfi "Bricco Visette" $35

    The Super Tuscans:
    What’s a “Super Tuscan” and what’s so great about it? After all, if you are going to call yourself “super”, Gothamist demands credentials. The “Super Tuscan” was developed around 1970 in the Tuscany region of Italy and is a blend of powerful, rich red grapes like: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese (used to make Chianti), Merlot and more. The wine is not made by the Chianti method – which requires specific grape blends and aging in French oak barrels, therefore could not bear the Chianti name or the DOC stamp (the regulatory organization for Italian wines). However these new styles quickly captured the taste of the increasingly sophisticated wine-buying public, and the nickname "Super-Tuscan" was born. The flavors in these wines are ripe berries, spices and earthy notes.
    Our Picks:

  • Tignanello Antinori 1996, $139
  • Mazzei 2001 Poggio alla Badiola Toscana, $12.99

    For those ready to get out there and start exploring these toe curling wines, a stop at the Italian Wine Merchants is definitely in order. While their wines tend to start a high price point, their amazing selection of hard to find wines and informative staff will hopefully justify the splurge.

    And if you spent all your money on fabulous Italians wines, you’re not out of luck. Search the couch, scrounge up those quarters and grab yourself a slice of pizza. $2 meal, $100 bottle of wine -- God, we love New York.