My top 10 italian wines
April 19, 2008
A few days ago I was surfing the internet and I came across different articles about the top 10 Italian wines, from the number of articles found seems to be a hot issue, from different wine writers including one from Jonathan Ray of the Daily Telegraph and the majority of lists were featuring all the usual wines made by the big Italian producers. The one from Jonathan Ray was slightly different because it had a few big names and was considering only wines from the historic Italian wine regions, Veneto, Piedmont and Tuscany and a couple more and going through the lists, I was very surprised and disappointed to find wines like the Canaletto Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, which is what I define a cheap supermarket wine, and 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) is not. Masciarelli or Valentini are only 2 of the fantastic producers we have in Abruzzo.
The article is dated the 8th of February but I want to draw from it to discuss my ideal top 10 Italian wines. I agree that the beauty of Italy is the hundred different grapes but also equally, the country's morphology that makes Italy unique. One of the opening statement of the list was that Italy produces very good wine and very poor, I agree but this is true for all countries, new world and old world and the name of the wine should not be a problem like is not for the French wines and this different names should make people trying and discovering new wines and stimulate their curiosity.
I am personally against big producers for the reason you can read of on the website and I think Italy has a lot to offer in terms of small producers and wines that my list will not include any of the big names. Moreover, I also think that the list of the top Italian wines has to include wines and grapes from regions where they have found their perfect terroir and I think, that for example the Pinot Grigio grape, because of the soil and micro climate, gives its best in Friuli and not in Tuscany or Sicily.
What I found was missing from all these lists is the current Italian wine situation. I think that Italian wines made by small producers, with a few exceptions, is now pretty good, there are a few stars as well, whilst this is not always the case for the wines made by big producers like the ones we find in supermarkets. I have already said 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 things and we should all stay away from them because there is something wrong about it, but the list of top 10 Italian wines I read, none of them tells you the evolution that is taking place in Italy. Classic wine making regions are losing market and new ones are coming out and for me, Campania and Trentino and Sardinia, have the biggest potential and, a part of a couple of big names that have become boring and have lost their enthusiasm in making wine, driven by a young generation of wine makers are producing fantastic wines and my top 10 list will definitely have a few wines from there. Two regions I will exclude from this list are Apulia and Sicily that keep disappointing me, that after a fantastic start a few years ago, they have now become boring and over valued in some case or of very poor quality on the other and I will make sure to fill the other positions keeping an open mind.
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