Italian Wine Terms

Submitted by John on Sun, 09/25/2016 - 18:53

Italy has been making wine since before Julius Caesar kicked the butts of those barbarous Gauls in what is now Burgundy and Bordeaux. But that happy, disorderly, ancient nation has so many types of wine and historically such resistance to organization that French wine terminology is better known in this country. Italian winemakers produce white wines, roses, and red wines that range from almost pink to almost black.

They have four levels of sweetness and three levels of effervescence.


  • Dolce - sweet and viscous dessert wines, like Sauternes and Vin Santo 
  • Amabile - semi-sweet 
  • Abbocato - off-dry 
  • Secco - dry
  • Asciutto - very dry


  • Tranquillo - still (This is usually not mentioned on the bottle since most Italian wines are still.)
  • Frizzante - lightly sparking, like good Prosecco
  • Spumante - fully sparkling, like Champagne (and Asti Spumanti)