By John ~ May 22nd, 2009.
- Italy says it is #1 in wine production, although it admits it is a close race with France and depends on the vintage.
- France is #1 in wine exports and historically was #1 in production, too.
- Spain is #1 in acreage planted to grapes.
- United States is #1 in wine imports.
Today, I’m going to focus on Italy. I’ll have to admit that when I used to think of Italy and wine, I thought of the straw covered bottles of house Chianti served in most Italian restaurants during my young adult days. However, today it is a new ballgame. Today, not only does Italy produce a lot of wine, it produces a lot of good wine, too, with excellent QPRs as well.
Italy received great press and notoriety with their Super Tuscans, jazzing up their Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and other of the top international varietals. In Tuscany, the revolution spread to Chianti with vast improvements in Chianti and especially Chianti Classico wines. In Piedmont, Barolo and Barbaresco have always been respected, but now you see some good Barbera as well.
The ultimate compliment to Italian wines is that you are seeing so many wine producers in the United States experimenting with Italian varietals such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, and even Nebbiolo with varying degrees of success.
In our quest to qualify to join the ranks of the Wine Century Club last year, we tasted a number of Italian wine varietals that we had never tasted before and found several that we really liked to add to our list of Italian favorites. Below is a list of some Italian wines that not only are of very good quality but are good values (high QPRs) as well. (Quality: “x” stars out of 5, QPR: “x” bangs for your buck out of 5)
2001 Vietti Castiglione Barolo $30, Quality: 4, QPR: 5
2001 Felsina Fontalloro IGT (Super Tuscan), $35, Quality: 4, QPR: 4
1999 LaGerla Brunello di Montalcino, $20, Quality: 4, QPR: 5
2005 Pasetti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, $13, Quality: 4, QPR: 5
2003 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella, $37, Quality: 4, QPR: 4
2005 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti, $10, Quality: 4, QPR: 5
The best thing about Italian wines is that they pair so well with food and not just with Italian food. The crisp acidity of the whites and the tanginess of the reds make some of the most food-friendly wine anywhere. And everyone I’ve known that has visited Italy says that Italian wine country is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. It’s on our short list of future wine trips. If you go before we do, let us know what you think.
(Photo from Vietti)
Filed under: Barbera, Brunello, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Italian Wine, Montepulciano, Moscato/Muscat, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Red Wine, Sangiovese, White Wine