Is Italy the perfect place to make wine? By Mikey on October 5th, 2022 in Blog Spread the love In Italy wine is revered, with every one of its 20 regions claiming to have the best Italian vineyards, making the best Italian wine. And there’s a lot of competition! Italy produces more wine than any other country and almost certainly has more indigenous varieties too. Estimates of 2000 seem accurate with over 500 making it onto retailers’ shelves and restaurant wine lists. Partly this is due to the incredibly long history of Italian wine. Well before the Roman Empire, Italian wine was extremely sought after. Over the centuries, successes, first in conquest, then commerce and banking meant wealthy Italians could invest in their vineyards. Gradually varieties were found or developed for almost every climate, altitude and soil type in the country, giving us the incredible diversity we enjoy today. We’ve chosen four styles which represent a small but delicious fraction of what this wonderful country has to offer. Baglio Gibellina Sogno del Sud Organic Grillo We begin our Italian wine adventure in Sicily. An island where one important topographical feature affects all winemaking. Mount Vesuvius. Volcanic soils are integral to wines of this region, offering nutrient-rich, well-drained vineyard sites. Baglio Gibellina Sogno del Sud Organic Grillo is, as the name suggests, an Organic certified white wine from the Grillo grape. Like many varieties local to the warm south of Italy and her islands, it can make inexpensive, neutral-tasting wines when allowed to grow vigorously and produce lots of fruit. When yields are controlled, however, as they are at Baglio Gibellina, flavour intensity and complexity are ramped right up. This wonderful wine has flavours of pear, ripe lemon, peach and jasmine. It also has a lovely honeyed character, great texture, a little creaminess and a good slug of refreshing acidity. So not only is it fully delicious it’s also a bargain to boot. Feudo Antico Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Another Organically certified wine is next. This time a red from Abruzzo, a few hundred miles north of Sicily, in central Italy. The region is most famous for the Montepulciano grape which has more plantings than any other Italian wine region. Montepulciano, if allowed too much vigour, can produce quite thin, simple wines. So to produce quality wine, careful vine management is essential. Fortunately, Feudo Antico works hard to restrict yields, encouraging much more intense flavours to develop in each grape. This can really be noticed in Fuedo Antico Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It has those ripe red and blackberry fruit flavours we’re all familiar with, but a little age and some clever winemaking have allowed other flavours to develop. Dried tobacco, clove, nutmeg and a whiff of distant farmyard add layers of complexity rarely found. Excellent with food but great without, this is another brilliant value Italian wine gem. Poggio del Moro Ivole Toscana Bianco We go one better in the sustainability stakes now, and take you to an Organic Certified Tuscan producer using Biodynamic methods. Confusingly they are situated near the town of Montepulciano, which has absolutely nothing to do with the grape mentioned previously. Poggio Del Moro is one of many Tuscan producers choosing to work outside the DOC and DOCG Classification rules in recent years with fantastic results. Their Poggio Del Moro Ivole Toscana Bianco is a rare beast, in that it’s a genuinely excellent white wine from Tuscany. Grechetto, Malvasia and Trebbiano are the varieties used and they come together in a wonderfully elegant, complex yet subtle way. It has flavours of chamomile and jasmine tea, honeyed peaches, bruised apples and ripe apricot plus a little cantaloupe melon and key lime pie. A very pleasing creaminess is balanced by refreshing acidity that keeps you coming back for glass after glass. Il Borghetto Montedesassi And finally, we come to another Italian wine that breaks the rules. Il Borghetto Montedesassi’s character is decidedly old school, revealing the absolute best in the Sangiovese grape. A big, bold, full-bodied wine, that’s still full of charm and elegance. It has flavours of red and black cherry, cranberry, summer fruit compote and a little violet. Then leather, smoke, soy and fennel come through with an earthy, mushroom character at the back. Tannins are high but super-refined and an excellent lick of acidity keeps it refreshing. Although situated in the heart of Tuscany and made from the grape most associated with the region, their methodology puts them at odds with the Chianti Classico authorities. So, similarly to Poggio del Moro, they have no DOC or DOCG classification and cannot use ‘Chianti Classico’ on their labels. Something of a hidden gem; if you like Chianti Classico you’re going to love this.