Italian regions

The blog of this website includes posts on all sorts of Italian wines sampled or drunk in the UK and in Italy. If you are looking for something in particular, you can use the search box at the top of the page. However, the major feature of this website is the longer articles on important regions which are based on visits to the region itself – by far the best way to understand the wine and food of a place. The Italian regions featured so far are, from south to north:

 

Puglia

 

Bush vines in Puglia Puglia used to be known just for bulk wine, whether this ended up ‘improving’ the wines of less reliably sunny areas or in the supermarkets of northern Europe. Now it is also a buzzing new quality area, with a distinctive set of grape varieties (especially the reds: Primitivo, Nero di Troia, Negroamaro, Susumaniello). Top producers include: Leone de Castris, Racemi and Alberto Longo. And there is great food and spring flowers. Read more

 

Campania

 

Campania, the star of the south, has a long history of fine wine, both red (especially Taurasi) and, surprisingly, no less than three great local white varieties: Falanghina, Greco di Tufo and Fiano. The zones vary markedly from vineyards high above the sea on the Amalfi coast to inland Avellino or Benevento. Top producers, just choosing from the ‘M’s, include Mastroberardino, Montevetrano and Marisa Cuomo. Read more

 

Tuscan Maremma

 

By far the largest section of this website with at least annual visits since 2006. The subsections include: Montescudaio, Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Montereggio di Massa Maritimma, Montecucco, Scansano, Argentario coast. Warm climate Sangiovese, Super Tuscans galore, Vermentino and other whites, sweet Vin Santo and Aleatico and more. In addition to Bolgheri’s world famous names, top wineries include Le Pupille, Moris and, to represent the increasing number of biodynamic wineries, Massa Vecchia. Read more

 

Chianti and its sub-zones

 

Forget the cheap Chianti of the 1970s and head instead for Chianti Classico with its fine mainly Sangiovese-based wines from the historic zone between Florence and Siena, plus Super Tuscans and Vin Santo Chianti or for Chianti Rufina, the small, conosoisseur’s, zone just west of Florence specialising in fine racy Sangiovese or indeed for Barberino Val d’Elsa on Chianti’s western boundary. Top producers include Montevertine, Nipozzano, I Veroni, Rocca di Montegrossi and I Balzini – but how does one choose? Read more

 

Franciacorta

 

A small but important zone between Milan and Brescia producing the consistently best bottle-fermented sparkling wine in Italy on the Champagne model, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with second fermentation in the bottle. Top producers (but they are virtually all good) include Ca’ del Bosco, Il Mosnel and Le Marchesine. Read more

 

Trentino

 

Trentino has a double wine life. It is an important ‘classic method’ sparkling wine area which includes Ferrari (the pioneer of the in-bottle method in Italy) and Dorigati for its outstanding Methius. And there is a powerful indigenous wine culture of its own focused on the black local grape Teroldego, plus whites and reds from French varieties

 

Prosecco Superiore

 

The sociable and normally slightly sweet sparkling wine is made as a quality wine on the demanding slopes between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, with much work by hand and attention to detail. The most prized zone is Cartizze. Top producers include Nino Franco, Ruggeri and the tiny Silvano Follador. Read more

 

Friuli

 

North of Venice, Friuli borders Slovenia (with whom it shares its best zone, Collio) and Austria. It is famous in Italy and beyond for its great white wines from local varieties (the new name Friuliano – still known locally as Tocai – is a powerful hint; Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana) plus French varietal whites and reds. In addition there are characterful local reds, sweet wine … and a small number of good sparkling wines too, crafted with the help of another beautiful and picturesque landscape. Read more

 

Piemonte

 

Have we saved the best to last? It would be invidious to choose between Italy’s great regions, but Piemonte would be on any shortlist. It can boast the great wines of Barolo and Barbaresco; and the hugely underrated Barbera and Dolcetto varieties, while not forgetting Arneis and others wines in the Roero … and other parts of Piemonte yet to be visited: Gavi, Asti for quality Moscato, and more. Top producers include (strictly one per zone!): Elio Grasso for Barolo, Bruno Rocca (Barbaresco) and Malvirà (Roero). Read more

Wish list

  • Sardegna – planned for Easter 2012 but overtaken at the last by the ‘N Italian bubbles tour’, see above
  • Sicilia – having been there several times for the ancient Greek sites, it’s time to go back for the wine: visited July 2016 
  • Abruzzo, but not forgetting Molise
  • places to revisit since having this website: Montalcino, Montepulciano (revisited summer 2012, 2014, 2015), Alto Adige, Aosta, Le Marche … any of the above
  • any other region not mentioned above
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