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Top 5 Italian Wines

In addition to iconic works of art, welcoming people and wonderful food, Italy is also often noted for its great variety of wines. Tracking down the right wine in the right region can be a bit of challenge. We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite varietals and where to look for them, but if you find yourself in any doubt, stay local. No matter which Italian region you’re exploring with VBT, a great vineyard with delicious wine won’t be far off.

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1.  Chianti Classico

On any one of our Tuscan Vacations, you’re sure to find ample opportunities to sample a Chianti or two. Perhaps the best opportunity presents itself on our Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​ vacation. We’ll make our way from Florence to Rome, straight through the heart of Chianti Classico country. So if you’re an avid biker with a taste for deep, dry reds, then you’ll certainly enjoy your time spent on and off the bike in Tuscany’s hill towns.

2.  Rosso della Maremma Toscana

Partly made up of the premier grape in Chianti Classico – sangiovese – Rosso della Maremma is a smooth red blend, often with notes of cherry, plum and even a hint of chocolate. Take advantage of the chance to sample wine at the beautiful Fattoria di Magliano on our Tuscany by the Sea vacation. One of their signature offerings is Sinarra, a delicious example of the Rosso della Maremma varietal.

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3.  Pinot Grigio

If you’re cycling through northern Italy and the crisp mountain air sweeping through the Dolomite Valleys has you in the mood for a dry white wine, then you’re in luck. This region produces some of the most notable Pinot Grigios in the world. Balanced and bright, this young white will be light in your glass and on your palette, complimenting the range of cuisine you’ll find in northeastern Italy.

4.  Primitivo

Moving south, into the Puglia region of Italy, you’ll find a wine that’s always in a bit of a hurry. Its name, Primitivo, is a reference to the grape’s tendency to ripen very early. As a result, this complex wine offers a vibrant range of flavors. But don’t let the name rush you. Be sure to take some time on your Puglia Vacation to sit back, relax and savor a glass or two.

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5.  Nero D’Avola

Though its title may have already given it away, this bold wine, indigenous to Sicily is very dark in color, but surprisingly easy to drink. Up until a couple of years ago, you’d have to go all the way to Sicily just to taste it. Fortunately, the varietal has recently made a splash in the international wine scene and you can now find it in many American wine shops. But don’t worry—we’ve got a great Sicily Bike Tour in mind if you’re up for an exciting, and delicious adventure.

Like Nero D’Avola, all of the wines mentioned are readily available without making the journey to Europe, but with nine different ways to Travel Italy, VBT is sure to have a biking, walking or skiing vacation that will tempt you all the way to the Mediterranean.

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To keep our travelers well-informed about VBT vacations, we’ve introduced a great tool, our Traveler Reviews. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback through this new channel and we just couldn’t resist sharing this testimonial about our Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast vacation. Enjoy!

Did we know about Puglia before we chose this VBT bike tour? Not really. It is off the beaten path for tourists. But that is what we loved about this trip. The landscape, people, food, towns are so like the Italy one imagines. I was fascinated by the masseria – the self-contained walled compounds dotting the countryside. I was thrilled we had a chance to stay in two remarkable examples of masseria during this VBT trip!

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We biked every day along olive groves on quiet roads edged with low stone walls. It was a full sensory experience: seeing the individuality of the twisted, ancient olives; smelling the sweet wild fennel and oregano along the roads; feeling the sound-wave chirr vibration of cicadas; breaking open fresh green pods to find sweet, tender almonds inside; feasting on olives and cheeses and seafood and the local Primitivo red wine made locally. Did I mention I learned to make pasta with the master chef at the amazing masseria where we first stayed?

Italy Bike Tour

We were drawn to Puglia because of the charming, quirky conical dry-stone Trulli houses found in this region. I delighted in every one of these amazing structures I saw, whether the vast numbers in the World Heritage site of Alborobello or the unpretentious homes we rode by. My curiosity was satisfied by our opportunity to see the inside of a Trulli and how the architecture perfectly suited the environment.

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And to cap it off, biking along the Salento coast looking out towards the Adriatic. Monopoli! Ostuni! Lecce! Each town magical in its own way. Do I want to go to Rome and Venice? Probably. But maybe I’ll just come back to Puglia.

-Anne M., Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast

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Thanks Anne! To give our travelers the opportunity to enjoy even more reviews, we’ve got a great contest. If you submit your own review about a previously taken VBT vacation by October 31, 2012, you’ll be entered to win $1,000 in Travel Credits!* Head to, find a tour that you’ve taken with VBT and click the Traveler Reviews tab to fill us in on your experiences.

*Contest rules: VBT travelers who post a review by Wednesday, October 31, 2012 will be entered into a contest to win $1000 in Travel Credits. This prize is non-transferrable and not redeemable for cash. Respondents must be 21 years of age or older and must have taken the VBT trip that they reviewed. Entries must be posted by Wednesday, October 31, 2012 and a winner will be drawn on Monday, November 5, 2012. To obtain the name of the winner, send your name and address to Paul Williams, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, 614 Monkton Road, Bristol, VT 05443. You may contact VBT with questions or concerns related to customer support and satisfaction.

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