A chilled, light, dry Italian Pinot Grigio works well as a before-dinner drink. This white wine's high acidity and mineral flavor gives it the mouth-watering quality best suited for an aperitif. Because it is one of Italy's driest and most acidic white wines, serve Pinot Grigio first. Pinot Grigio pairs well with a light seafood dish or an antipasto salad.
Surprise your guests with a wine they might not be familiar with: Tocai Friulano, which comes from the Friuli region of Italy. Tocai Friulano white wines tend to be balanced in taste, with fruit flavors rounding out the acidity. These wines are quite dry, and pair well with light appetizers and mild fish dishes. Serve Italian Tocai Friulano wine chilled.
You might know the Moscato grape from its well-known application in Italian "asti," or sparkling, wines, which come from the Asti region of Italy. The white Moscato grape can also make very sweet dessert wines. Serve your guests a sample of one of these sweet wines to sip with dessert, or drizzle a spoonful over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Chianti is the most common product of the Sangiovese grape, which grows all over Italy. Because they are high in tannins and acidity, these red Italian wines pair well with dishes like pizza or pasta in red sauce, which can stand up to the wine's bold flavors.
The Nebbiolo grape produces three of Italy's most famous red wines: Nebbiolo, Barbaresco and Barolo. Each of these Italian wines has a distinct character and a different optimal aging period. Nebbiolo wines are good for drinking while they are "young," while Barbaresco and Barolo wines are best when aged. All three red wines do well when paired with rich meats, mushrooms and flavorful cheeses.