The Vancouver International Wine Festival is showing off reds and whites from everyone's favourite boot-shaped country

Clear your plate (and your palate) and head downtown. The Vancouver International Wine Festival is now underway and runs until Sunday. It features 155 wineries from 14 different nations, but as always one country in particular is put in the spotlight. This year's has a long history with wine and, well, most things civilized: Italy. The festival, for those who haven't had the pleasure before, is the biggest of its kind in Canada and considered one of the best in the world. Not surprisingly, the tastings are selling out fast, but there are still tickets left for those eager to get a taste of Tuscany. Find out which events still have space here. But whether or not you can make this year's wine festival, you don't need to deprive yourself of wonderful Italian wine. Van Mag, as always, has your back. So, to celebrate the Italian theme of 2016's Vancouver International Wine Festival, here are the Italian winners from our own Wine Awards (all of which are available for purchase locally). Given this is Italy we're talking about, there's no shortage of options—particularly for lovers of flavourful reds.

Italian winners from 2016's Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards

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Giusti Cuvée Extra Brut Italy $65.43 +42044

Sophisticated, distinctive sparkler combines chardonnay and glera grapes

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Vaporetto Prosecco Brut Italy $17.29 +99986

Refined, dry-tasting prosecco for your daily bubbly needs

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Fontanafredda Gavi DOCG 2013 Italy $19.39 +224709

Suave Italian from a great estate in Piedmont

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Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino 2014 Italy $17.99+457945

Dry white from Sardinia’s star grape, vermentino

Richwhites-monteMonte del Fra Custoza Superiore DOC Ca’ del Magro 2012 Italy $19.79 +216077

Savoury white with creamy texture and sizzling acidity

Lightred-orgiolo Marotti Campi Orgiolo Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC Superiore 2013 Italy $25.99+613323

Lithe and exotic red from the Marche’s rare lacrima grape

Medred-fontodi MEDIUM RED CATEGORY WINNER: Fontodi Chianti Classico 2011 Italy $31.99 +533315

It’s fair to call this classy Chianti runner-up for Best of Show, so close was the gripping final ballot among our judges. Sited in the heart of the Chianti Classico region and organically farmed since 2008, this all-sangiovese wine is aged in old barrels. Judges praised its fruity, spicy, earthy, oaky layers, all given extra dimension from a warm and generous vintage. It’s a true and pure expression of the grape and terroir.

Medred-damilanoDamilano Lecinquevigne Barolo 2010 Italy $43.99 +484634

Perfumed, leathery, muscular wine typifies the “tar and roses” of Barolo

Medred-langheGiovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo 2012 Italy $26.99 +779702

Nebbiolo’s distinctive flavour, for a steal

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Casa Planeta Syrah 2013 Italy $15.59 +130252

Judges adored this dense but juicy syrah from famous Sicilian estate Planeta

Medred-castiglionCastiglion del Bosco Rosso di Montalcino 2012 Italy $24.49 +628974

Think of this as baby brunello for earlier drinking and less money

Medred-neroCusumano Sicilia Nero d’Avola 2013 Italy $16.29 +143610

Sicilian warmth and terroir shines through chewy fig and cassis flavours

Medred-mezzoMezzomondo Salento Negroamaro 2014 Italy $8.99 +135178

Soft, fruit-forward red is well-built and well-priced

Medred-luccarelliLuccarelli Puglia Negroamaro 2012 Italy $12.99 +295287

Cheerful bargain red from the heel of Italy’s boot

Medred-brunelloPiccini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2009 Italy $34.99 +36012

One of the very best bargains from one of Italy’s most prestigious regions

Richred-musellaMusella Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 Italy $28.99 +806224

Think of this tip-top quality valpolicella as baby amarone

Richred-umbertoGiusti Umberto I 2008 Italy $181.70 +47605

Impressive vin de garde from a Canadian-owned Venetian estate

Richred-castelloGabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2011 Italy $24.99 +25163

Benchmark Chianti shows consistent quality vintage after vintage

Richred-carugateCa’Rugate Amarone della Valpolicella 2009 Italy $62.99 +278291

Superb velvety amarone with molten dark fruit—a fireside wine

Richred-modusRuffino Modus 2012 Italy $30.49 +614354

Modern, well-priced Tuscan wine blends sangiovese, merlot, and cab