Travel at Home

How Much Italian Wine Should You Drink to Make Your Canceled Italy Trip Hurt Less?

by Kristin Tice Studeman
Table Aperitivo at home. Photo courtesy of Melissa Walker Horn/Unsplash.

Can drinking a delicious glass of Tuscan wine soothe the sting of a canceled trip to Florence? Here’s one way to find out. Kristin Tice Studeman, writer, wine enthusiast, and founder of The Rosé Project, shares a few of her favorite bottles from the beloved Italian region.

YOUR HOUSE - Open up a good bottle of wine from Tuscany and you can quite literally taste the picturesque, rolling hillsides and coastal breeze from the comforts of your own home. We so easily forget that good wine can be wonderfully transporting — each bottle tells a story about the place it comes from, the history of its region, and the people behind it. It’s like a virtual passport.

Here are a few excellent bottles to order right now at every price point — and the Italian staples to pair with them. If all else fails, pizza is a good pairing for the wines listed below. You’ll feel like you’re far, far away, basking in the sunshine in Maremma or roaming the vineyards in Montalcino. In the meantime, you can keep planning that Italian adventure while you sip.

Prelius Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasting notes: Dark, red fruit. Made of 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a full-bodied wine from beautiful Maremma (a coastal region of Tuscany that borders the Tyrrhenian Sea). It smells like blueberries and blackberries, with a hint of cinnamon and a bit of oak. ($18)
Pairs well with cheese pizza. Make your own (a good project to do with the kids), or order (curbside pick-up or delivery!) from your favorite local spot. 
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Tenuta Sette Cieli, Yantra, 2018

Tasting notes: Fresh and vivacious, with nice acidity and soft tannins. Made of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 percent Merlot, it demands that a tasty pasta be served along with it. Now just shut your eyes and pretend you're on the Tuscan coast for a moment. ($23)
Pairs well with gnocchi with red sauce. The ultimate pantry pasta dinner gets a major upgrade with this wine. 
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Val di Suga Rosso di Montalcino, 2014

Tasting notes: If you typically gravitate toward Pinot Noir, try this wine made of Sangiovese. Sangiovese often exhibits similar qualities to Pinot Noir grapes, with its light, elegant tannins. This particular wine from the award-winning Val di Suga has notes of sour cherry, pomegranate, and roasted coffee beans. ($24)
Pairs well with a charcuterie platter — perhaps some pecorino or Parmesan? You don’t have to get fancy here, whatever’s in your fridge will work! 
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Arnaldo Caprai Collepiano Montefalco Sagrantino, 2013

Tasting notes: Arnaldo Caprai has long been a champion of Sagrantino, a grape native to Umbria that’s rich and usually quite tannic. If you’ve never tasted Sagrantino, this is a wonderful expression of it.
Pairs well with a hearty meat (like lamb or beef) stew and polenta. ($47)
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Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino, 2013

Tasting notes: From one of Tuscany’s most famed producers, this wine is definitely something to savor on a nice, cozy night in. This is a beautifully balanced wine with flavors of red cherry, pomegranate, and star anise. It has a really nice acidity. ($159)
Pairs well with Black truffle pasta — or truffle potato chips, if you don’t have access to truffles right now. 
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