Note: This post was originally written for Vinspire and is reproduced here with their kind permission.
I have something of an infatuation with Italy. I love the food, I love the climate, I love its opera, I love its art, I love its people, I love its history and, of course, I love its wine.
Italian wines used to start and end with Chianti for me. Then I added Barolo into the mix. Over the last couple of years I have come to learn that the Italian wine industry is one of the most varied and interesting in the whole world. Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has officially recognised over 350 different grapes. As someone who is a massive wine geek, Italy is a veritable treasure trove of obscure wine varietals.
So, I was really pleased when I met a rather lovely Italian Wine Producer recently at a trade fair – Mondial Wine. They specialise in Italian wines and have a fantastic selection on their website.
Mondial Wine have been importing Italian wines into the UK since 1985; their Marketing Manager, Stefania Trinchero, told me that there aim was to “promote Italian wines’ heritage” and to “satisfy our customer base by building strong relationships and improving each day the online experience, spreading in all UK the love for Italian wines.” Now that’s a mission statement that I can get behind!
If you look at their website, they stock wines from all over Italy and, pleasingly, a lot of relatively obscure varietals.
So how did I get on with a selection of their wines?
2012 Kerria Casa Vinicola Garofoli, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC (100% Lacrima, £12.60/bottle)
A dark, intense purple in the glass, on the nose there was plenty of red fruit with strawberry jam coming through, whilst there were also some black cherry notes too. On the palate, luscious red cherry flavours dominated, coupled with juicy blackcurrant. This was a thoroughly pleasant wine, uncomplicated but great for drinking. Quality: 5.0 – Value: 8.0.
2013 Mastoberadino, Lacryma Christi del Versuvio Bianco DOC (100% Coda di Volpe del Verusvio, £15.60/bottle).
This was a pale gold in the glass and had aromas of ripe, juicy pear in the glass along with some honeydew melons. On tasting this was typically high in acidity with a crispness to the taste reminding me of pears with a hint of lemon notes. The finish was remarkably long and polished for this very pleasant wine. Quality: 7.0 – Value: 9.0.
I had first encountered Aglianico on my travels to the Amalfi Coast last year and found it a thoroughly approachable red; I hadn’t found it a grape that aged particularly well, so this wine intrigued me. In the glass it was a medium tawny, which made sense given the age of the wine. It smelt of kirsch cherries and seemed to have a touch of violets to it. On the palate it was rather refined with blackcurrants and blackberry flavours. Seemed to be holding up well, but now is probably the time to drink this wine – I don’t think it will age much longer. Quality: 6.5 – Value: 8.0.
2011 Podium Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Supriore (100% Verdicchio, £16.56/bottle).
On the nose this was a mixture of fruit (apples and pears), along with a hint of grass and white pepper. On the palate it was fresh and bright with some pleasingly fruity notes (pears and lemons). Quality: 6.0 – Value: 6.0.
2009 Santa Sofia Amarone della Valpolicella (70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara, £36/bottle).
Time to bring out the big guns! This was a BIG wine; deep, intense, inky purple in the glass. The aroma was intoxicating, very intense, bursting forth with dried and stewed fruit aromas. The taste was very smooth, well rounded and balanced, which is the mark of a good Amarone – it is a blockbuster of a wine, but it doesn’t smack you around the head as you drink it. The taste is reminiscent of PX with a stewed raisin kind of flavour profile. This was a real winner. Quality: 8.0 – Value: 6.0.
10 – Unbeatable, 9 – Incredible, 8 – Outstanding, 7 – Great, 6 – Good, 5 – Fair, 4 – Acceptable, 3 – Poor, 2 – Very poor, 1 – Undrinkable.
The idea would be that two wines I drink may both score 6 in terms of quality, but if one cost £10/bottle and another £40/bottle then clearly that would affect the way that I thought about the wines!
Disclaimer: These wines were sent to me as samples; the opinions contained within this article are my own.
I too have an infatuation with Italian wines. I wish more boutique Italian wines made their way to the US! Thanks for sharing.
I love the craft that is so evident in boutique Italian wines. Plus there are so many lesser known varietals to get your head (and taste-buds) around…!
Love the Capellaccio ’07 and ’08 and everything Mastroberardino.