A few days ago I was surfing the internet and found several articles from different wine writers about the top 10 best Italian wines.
One of them was from Jonathan Ray
of the Daily Telegraph and whilst the majority of lists were featuring all the usual suspects, nothing new or exciting, the one from Jonathan Ray was slightly different because it was a very bizarre list, it was a list putting together wines made from good producers with what I consider very cheap supermarket wines, such as the Canaletto Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, being born in Abruzzo I know a bit about our wines and producers and the Canaletto Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (bottled by a company based in Veneto that buys the grapes in Abruzzo because the wine is a DOC wine) is not. We have plenty of fantastic producers in Abruzzo that make great Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Canaletto certainly it is not one of them. The other wine that caught my attention is a Pinot Grigio from Tuscany.
I don’t know whether the grapes are actually grown in Tuscany or bought and then bottled there, Banfi buys a lot of their grapes, but there are outstanding Pinot grigio being made in the north east of Italy, Banfi making it is just jumping on the band wagon.
The article is dated the 8th of February but I am using it to talk about my top 10 best Italian wines.
I agree with Jonathan when he says that the beauty of Italy is the hundred different grapes grown, native and not, but it is equally important, the country's morphology and terroir, that makes Italian wine so unique.
One of his opening statement was that Italy produces very good wine and very poor and I could not agree more, I have been saying it from my first post, but this is true for all countries, new world and old world alike, and the name of the wine should not be a problem like it is not for French wine and the different names should stimulate wine drinkers curiosity.
I am personally against big, mass producers. Making wine is an art and requires dedication and care and Italy has a lot to offer in terms of small producers making great wines, my top 10 best Italian wine list will not include any of the big names. My list will also only feature wines made in the area, grapes bottled where grown, it will never include a Tuscan Pinot Grigio, and it doesn’t matter its price. A Tuscan Pinot Grigio will never be as good as one made in Veneto or Friuli Venezia Giulia.
All list included the usual suspects, these lists could be reprinted every year and will never be wrong, and done by anyone, without being a wine writer or expert, however, the wine industry is constantly evolving, and these lists do not take into account the current Italian wine situation.
Italian wine made by small producers, with very few exceptions, is now very good, the bar is very high, which is not the case for wines made by big producers like the ones we find in supermarkets. I have already mentioned that Italy cannot make cheap wines because of its characteristics, intended as the morphology of the country, and the too many regulations that regulate the industry that limit the winemakers in many ways.
The big names in the Italian wine industry are slowly losing their appeal, new producers and regions keep coming out, with a new young generation of wine makers are driving the renaissance of Italian wine, producing fantastic wines and my top 10 best Italian wine list will definitely include them. Two regions I will exclude from this list are Apulia and Sicily that keep disappointing me, regions that after a fantastic start a few years ago, have now become boring and overpriced in some cases or very poor quality on the others.
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made by small producers.