Italian wines on the press.. incorrect information
June 9, 2008
A few days ago I received a copy of the magazine Taste Italia and reading through I came across the wines reviewed by Brian St Pierre and once again, he picked all wined from the major supermarkets and even called Oddbins a specialist, I meant Italian specialist. I have been at Oddbins a few times and they are all but Italian specialists, they currently stock a few Italian wines and I personally think that you can find better wines at better value for money there. I receive the magazine every month and every month the nearly totality of the wines reviewed come from a supermarket, I agreed with are the easiest to find, but I also think a wine writer should go beyond the obvious and really find a specialist wine shop. I don't really read the wine reviews, not knowing the wines, there is no much to say, but this time I came across a couple of, for me, incorrect information. The first one relates to the Chianti. Chianti is a DOCG wine and like all the DOCG wines, not much is left to the winemaker a part from a small percentage of grapes to use amongst a list of allowed grapes. This is the exactly the same for the Chianti Classico. In the review, Brian St Pierre, says that one advantage of wine making outside the Classico zone in Chianti s that there are fewer tradition-bound restrictions, I don't know what I meant but the wine makers have exactly the same choice when making the wine. There are producers that go for the tradition, using only Sangiovese, whilst there are others that prefer using blending the Sangiovese with other grapes as to make the wine more round and ready to drink.
The second, incorrect information is his introduction to the Orvieto Classico, where it says that Orvieto's whites are blends, which hasn't always been something to brag about... Orvieto Classico is the wine made with different grapes from vineyards located around the town of Orvieto in Umbria and it is a blend, however I don't agree with the second part of the statement. It is like all blends are something not to brag about whilst plenty of fantastic Italian wines are blend. Chianti can be when not 100% Sangiovese and many are not, Frascati, Amarone are all blends and the problem is not the blend but the producer who can make a good wine like the Orvieto become undrinkable. This is the main issue for Italian wines, too many producers and therefore it is difficult to find good wines without searching and looking and recently, another wine importer told me that I was giving up on Italian wines because he was too time consuming finding them and promoting them, because even when you find a good producer, only the small are left, you need to promote the wine and small producers don't understand it. Concluding this post, blends can be good or bad, it all depends on the producers.
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