Our staff love Italy and love Italian wine. Italy is a big wine producer with lots of varieties and regional specialties; we get so many questions in the store just because there is so much to taste. Here is a short summary of Northern, Central and Southern Italy from our team which may help steer your next wine purchase in one director or another.
Northern Italy, known for its mountainous terrain and stylish culture, is home to some of the most prestigious and most popular wines in the world.
From the rolling hills of Piedmont, which grows Nebbiolo that produce the big, powerful yet wonderfully elegant wines of Barolo and Barbaresco to the coastal areas of Veneto, home to the ever-popular Prosecco, made from the Glera grape. Tradition is king in this area, old school methods such as Ripasso, where Corvina grapes are first dried to create the intense Amarone, are still utilised.
The neighbouring countries have also played a big role in shaping this area, to the Far North there is a strong Germanic influence, with wines that are a light and fresh take on Pinot Noir and Riesling and the border towns to the North East produce the wines of Slovenian and Hungarian descent such Friulano, which used to be known as Tokaji Friulano until 2007. Discover some of our range below.
From Bologna to southern Rome, Central Italy is home to many wines you will recognize the names of from the trip to your local wine merchant. Everyone has heard about the Super Tuscans, Chiantis, Montepulciano, but what exactly are they, I hear you asking. Let us share the love we have for this region and tell you why we love it so much.
Grapes likes Verdicchio, Pecorino, Malvasia, Sangiovese, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Montepulciano (the grape, not to be confused with Montepulciano Vino Nobile which is made of Sangiovese – I know, it gets tricky), thrive in this regions climate.
Tuscany is possibly the most well-known region from this area and home of some of the most iconic wines such as Sassicaia, Tignanello, Ornellaia, which you can find on our shelves. Wines like these are meant to sit in your cellar for many years to come but we can always direct you to something of the likes and ready to pop the cork and surprise your friends at a dinner party. Check out Poggio Al Tesoro, they bought their first vineyard in ‘Le Sondraia’ which is next door to Ornellaia and make outstanding wines at amazing prices, check out ‘Il Seggio’, you will love it.
Tuscany is also the home of the Sangiovese and producers like Fontodi are amazing producers and have been in Chianti for centuries. We can’t get enough of their wines and their Chianti Classico Fontodi is one of our most popular wines. We recently added the Flaccianello Della Pieve Fontodi , which you will find in all of the top restaurants in London.
From the Abruzzo wine region, which sits just by the Adriatic sea, we stock wines such as Giulia Pecorino, Marina Cvetic Montepulciano and Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This region is famous for their powerful yet very elegant and fresh wines, that are highly influenced by the sea shores.
Lazio, the area surrounding the capital of Rome, is now becoming famous for their wines. The volcanic soil and the closeness to Lake Bolsena provides a unique microclimate that helped the region to keep majority of their ancient grapes, such as Aleatico, Malvasia and Trebbiano. From this region you should definitely try our Andrea Occhipinti Vino Rosso ‘Alea Viva’. This is a wine that encapsulates tradition and we like to believe it was the preferred wine of ancient Romans.
In Southern Italy where mountains rise from the area of Naples and continue toward the border with Puglia, the sun is shining, weather gets warmer, wines will show deep colour and full body characteristics. For some years now most producers are adopting organic principles and biodynamic methods to grow grapes. Not only you will discover beautiful and historical landscapes going down south, but also an interesting variety of native grapes.
In all of Italy Campania produces the finest white wines from Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino. Aglianico is growing in both Campania and Basilicata regions, producing powerful reds destined for a great ageing future. Driving down to Puglia, the "heel" of Italy, Verdeca from Valle d'Itria, a unique UNESCO World Heritage area, offers intense fruity notes together with Primitivo and Negroamaro which truly stands for "black and bitter". In Calabria, the Gaglioppo grape is one of Italy's oldest noble varieties and at the very end of Italy, the island of Sicily stands out for its outstanding Nero D'Avola and Frappato grapes.
We should never forget the marvellous area of Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano which offers exceptional scenarios and volcanic soils, great for making fine Reds from Nerello Mascalese and superb Whites from Carricante and Catarratto blends.
Day 3 began with a few sore heads from the night before, luckily the beds in the Dr Loosen guest house are extremely comfortable and a freshly cooked breakfast went down a treat. Next stop Jean Stodden Winery and Donnhoff.
I was fortunate enough to be invited on the recent Masters of Riesling trip by renowned German importer 'ABS Agencies' this past June. This trip involved visiting some of the most prestigious German wineries across the country over four wine filled days, sounds fun right.
The 2021 Bordeaux vintage is being hailed as the 'Miracle Vintage' by some winemakers: between late frosts and a cool, damp summer, it was a difficult vintage, and grape yields were significantly reduced compared to recent years.