Sometimes you’re looking at a list and you don’t know where to start! While there are variations to every list (maybe varietal may come first, etc.), here’s a breakdown of how two wine examples could be listed as on a list:

Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Scaia, Garganega Chardonnay Blend, Veneto, 2017

Let’s separate it into five parts:

(1) Tenuta Sant’Antonio, (2) Scaia, (3) Garganega Chardonnay Blend, (4) Veneto, (5) 2017

(1) is the producer of the wine
(2) is the name of the wine
(3) is the type of wine
(4) is the region
(5) is the vintage

In some cases the varietals won’t be listed for something like a “Super Tuscan” or “Soave Classico”. Similar to how “Bordeaux Blend” may be listed for a French list instead of the specific grapes, there is a general understanding of the grapes and regions which grow them. In the case of “Soave Classico”, Garganega will be the name of the varietal, but generally is left unlisted. The term “Classico” denotes a specific historic focal point of a region, often where the best wines of the region are produced.

So in this example, no varietal is listed or specific wine name aside from the producer:

Inama, Soave Classico, Veneto, 2018

Don’t be afraid to ask the sommelier for help! They’re there to assist you. Maybe you might even learn something new! Especially with all the types and styles of Italian wines, it can seem very intimidating but it doesn’t need to be!

If you don’t know what a word means, ask for clarification. Having a starting point of how to spot different things on a wine list comes especially helpful when skimming Italian wines. For instance, in the examples above, someone may look at the list and not be familiar with what Garganega is.

Also, be honest about your budget! There is something for every price point (and you will not be judged for it!).