Diversity, Italian wine is all about diversity
September 8, 2018
Do you only like Italian wine or all wines? This is the first question I am asked when I tell people what I do for living and my response is “I love all good wines, not just Italian”, and the second questions is why Italian then? My response is “because of its diversity”. There is no other country offering the diversity of Italian wines. We could look at some of the numbers of the Italian wine industry from grapes grown to wines made, still it will not offer a real snapshot of the Italian wine offering and yes, Italy has a long way to fully realise its potential and become a wine powerful nation, beyond the quantity, still too much poor quality wine is made and sold, damaging the whole Italian wine brand but if you know where to go, there is no other country like Italy.
About 15/20 year ago things were looking up for the Italian wine industry, after a long and dark period, Italian wines were sought and desired again, then the financial crisis came in 2008 and did some serious damage, not just for the Italians, but also created opportunity and the fairytale of Prosecco is one of them, now, in the last couple of years a new, undefined and unnamed crisis, is hitting the wine industry again and particularly the Italians, the other countries are trying to react, Italians are not, are still too much concerned about quantity over quality, and by the time the Italian wine industry will realise the seriousness of the crisis, it will probably be too late.
However, if you know your way around Italian wines and how to choose them or if you have a trusted wine specialist that does not just stock prosecco and pinot grigio or chianti, Italy still represent the most undiscovered, exciting, wine region in the world. There are a lot of small, independent wine makers that are making fantastic wines, wines they like making, wines that the market doesn’t always understand, whether because of their price or the idea behind, wines that require your full attention, but if you do like wine, make Italian wines your next choice and you will not be disappointed.
Finding these wines and producers are not easy, there isn’t a sign outside the winery saying “great wines are made here”, is more about trial and error, still after 20 years tasting Italian wines and I have tasted plenty, I stumble across one that makes me take a deep breath and taste again.
The other problem with Italian wines is that there is also still plenty of misinformation about them. Too many wine drinkers believe that a DOC wine is better than a IGT or table wine and DOCG are the best, DOC and DOCG consortiums have all interest in keeping things this way since they get paid when a wine put their sticker on, or that if the label says Classico is better, an example is Chianti Classico often thought to be better than a Chianti; this is just nonsense, if this was the case we would not have bad and good prosecco or bad and good chianti classico.
Until all these problems Italian wines will never be able to fully develop their potential, but even now Italian wine is as exciting as a wine can be, as long as you know where to get it.
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