|1. Il Frappato||2. Sagrantino Montefalco||3. Schiava|
Pinot Noir is popular the world over for its red fruit notes, light spicy body, and floral hints. It is synonymous with the Burgundy region in France where you find classic expressions of this delicate, fastidious grape. It likes cool climates which is why it thrives in Burgundy, but its popularity has inspired winemakers around the globe to try their hands at cultivating it.
At one end of the scale, Burgundy Pinot Noir can be exceptionally light, floral, and acidic with a touch of oak and, at the other end, intense and tannic. Elsewhere in Europe, this classic grape is grown in the Baden area of Germany, Italy, and Moldova. It has also swept across the New World with plantings in USA wine regions California and Oregon, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and the United Kingdom. Anyplace where the climate is cool, there is an ocean breeze, morning mist, or good elevation, you most likely find Pinot Noir.
When seeking an Italian wine similar to Pinot Noir, you need to decide what style you are after. In France, Pinot Noir expresses with cherry, hibiscus, and rose plus has signature earthy tones of mushroom and soil. Winemakers may include whole bunches of grapes in fermentation to extract tannins for a structure that can leave a slightly astringent feel in young Pinots. Skilled winemaking means an elegant wine whether youthful or aged.
A New World expression like those in California is lusher owing to the intense sunlight. These Pinots typically burst with cherry, raspberry, cooking spice, and vanilla notes. Full and magically moody, this style may be what floats your boat.
Overall, Pinot Noir is known for its medium-body, alcohol, and acidity, precise red fruit, dry palate, and low tannins. Where in Italy can we find wines with a similar profile?
Top 3 Best Italian Wine Similar To Pinot Noir
Light bodied and aromatic, Frappato is a red varietal from the scorched soils of Sicily grown predominantly along the south-eastern coast of the isle. It produces a dry-ruby hued wine with tart dried strawberry and fresh pomegranate notes gently lined with tobacco, white pepper, and hints of clove. Like Pinot Noir, it is medium-bodied with gentle tannins and moderate acidity. It also has a medium level of alcohol just like the French grape.
Frappatopartners well with any dish featuring sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper plus lamb, beef, and any kind of pasta that takes you fancy. It also goes down a treat with flaky white fish soaked in a creamy mushroom sauce.
In your search for an Italian wine like Pinot Noir, try Occhipinti. It sweeps in with layers of stewed cherry and rose petal with appealing hints of smoke and charcoal bringing up the rear. Fine woody notes courtesy of 14 months in Slavonian oak peek through and add to this red’s masterful structure. Effortlessly balanced, fresh yet warm, it is bold, dry, delectable, and boasts just enough complexity to make you think while you drink.
This Frappato gets extra points from us because it is cultivated using organic farming principles, ferments with ambient yeasts, and is bottled unfiltered. These practices lead to an elegant, smooth wine with a rustic character.
Hailing from Umbria in central Italy, this red is something of a rare find. Concentred in the area around the village of Montefalco, this varietal has the dryness of Pinot Noir and acidity that ranges from medium to high. It goes one step further than the French grape with an ample body and super high tannins – in fact, some of the highest tannins of any varietal on the planet. Led by brambles, red fruit, and plum, this inky purple wine features notes of black pepper and licorice with a touch of spice and an appealing seam of earthiness.
Sagrantinobearing the prestigious DOCG stamp must be made entirely from this varietal and aged for a minimum of 37 months. Twelve of these have to be in oak barrels.
This Umbrian prince matches most Italian food especially rich carbonara, powerful pasta, and pizzas dripping with tasty toppings. What it has in common with Pinot Noir apart from its secco quality is its linear integrity, elegance, and earthy notes. If you are tempted to try this central Italian red, an excellent choice is Antonelli.
The fruit undergoes fermentation with skin contact for 25 to 40 days which accounts for its deep color plus the wine clarifies itself naturally so there is no need for any filtration that can sometimes interfere with delicate flavors. On the nose, you can already detect power and complexity which deepens on a bold mouth. Potent cherry, wild berry, and citrus plus aromatic herbs like mint and oregano flow over the palate that is well structured with firm, silkily integrated tannins. Earthy, brilliantly acidic, and smooth, this Sagrantinowill makes fans of Pinot Noir lovers.
Pair it with roast meats, game, and hard cheeses.
Grown in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region, Schiava (also known as Vernatsch) is an intriguing read, fairly light in color with a potpourri nose. Fans of pretty styles of Pinot Noir will love it. This light wine displays notes of fresh berries and violets in a medium body with moderate tannins. Hints of bubble gum give the impression that Schiava is off-dry, but it is most certainly a dry red. Light acidity and a smooth texture make this an ideal wine for drinking on its own very chilled.
If light and flowery Pinot Noir is your thing, go for Abbazia. This delicate, fruity ruby-red wine opens with a fresh bouquet opening to a classy, dry palate with red cherry and strawberry notes and a weave of earth, grass, and minerality. The mouthfeel is soft with bitter almonds peeking through the finish.
Match with Italian food, cold cuts, game, lamb, and, if you can get hold of them, Alto Adige cheeses like Stelvio and Dolomitenkönig.
With these fine Italian wines with similar personalities to Pinot Noir within reach, lovers of the French Burgundian grape need never go thirsty!