Such is the huge variety of wines available from Italy, it is easy to confine one’s drinking to the famous regions, varieties and producers. After all, they’re iconic for the simple reason of consistently producing wines of outstanding quality. But this can often lead to a few problems; not least, things can get a bit expensive, and drinking the same style of wine over and over again can erode the sense of character that led one to enjoy it in the first place. If you find yourself in this very position, we have some handy advice to expand your drinking horizons without breaking the bank.
Of the famous regions, Piedmont and Tuscany are the most iconic. So let’s take Piedmont for example. Home to the House of Savoy in Turin, it is also home to Barolo and Barabaresco, Italian wine royalty themselves. Outside of these big names produces from Nebbiolo, there is a plethora of varieties to explore. Italian wine critic Antonio Galloni – follow on Instagram for jealousy-inducing wine and food snaps – recently published an article on Vinous.com highlighting how Barbera, Dolcetto and even Nebbiolo from minor appelations are capable of giving major enjoyment at minor prices. Of Dolcetto he is particularly praising, writing that “the best examples capture all the best qualities that make Piedmont such a compelling region.” Our very own Dolcetto d’Alba from Bel Colle is an example of such: deep in black berry flavour, with touches of lavender and liquorice. If you want to try something even more niche, Bel Colle also produce a Verduno Pelaverga. Pelaverga is a variety indigenous to Piedmonte, showing vibrant summer fruit notes with a touch of white pepper. It is a delicious example of something a little different capable of delivering a lot of pleasure.
The other regal region, Tuscany, is also capable of throwing up a few surprises. Dominated by Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Super Tuscans, there are some stunning bargains to be had. One example is the wines from Moris Farms, located on the southern boundaries of the Tuscan coast in Maremma. They specialise in Sangiovese, of which their Morellino di Scansano often steals the spotlight. The 2016 vintage is opulent and generous, with deep, dark cherry fruit flavours, drawing an impressive 92 point score from Antonio Galloni, who remarks that it is “a huge overachiever” and “don’t miss it.” Their Vermentino is worth a look in too. With 10% Viognier in the blend, the aromatic allure of Vermentino – its freshness and zestiness – is fattened out, giving it a touch of exoticness. A 90 point wine for £14.95? Yes please!
It is always worth journeying through the fringes and lesser known regions to seek out something interesting – that these wines offer exceptional value for money is a bonus!