Updated: Nov 26, 2020
“If you were forced to drink wine from only one country which country would it be” is an often asked question amongst wine trade professionals, wine anoraks and wine enthusiasts alike.
There is of course only one answer to this question, and that is Italy!
There are multiple reasons to wave the Italian flag when it comes to being monogamous to a single wine producing country.
The most obvious place to start is the huge array of grape varieties available from Italy’s treasure trove – you can literally drink a different variety for every day of the year and way beyond, no other country comes remotely close.
Another reason is the multiple styles of wines that can be made in Italy – due to length of the country you can have both Alpine and Mediterranean conditions and everything in between. So sparkling wines from the north are produced alongside elegant sculpted whites and reds. If you want more powerful wines travel south to the centre and south of the country to experience rich whites and reds. There’s a huge tradition of Apassiamento (air-drying grapes to enrich sugars in the pre-fermented grapes) so lots of sweet wines are produced as well as a selection of fortified wines as well.
The topography of the country lends itself incredibly well to making balanced wines that rarely get too punchy for comfortable imbibing. You’re never too far from the sea or from the mountains so even if a vineyard is in a very hot area either elevation or sea breezes keep things in check.
Visiting wine producing areas in Italy is an unbelievable experience too. The Langhe hills in Piemonte where Barolo and Barbersco are produced are magical, so too are the village top vineyards of Chianti in Tuscany. Further south there is many a breathtaking view from hillside vineyards in Le Marche and Abruzzo nestled between the Apennines and the Adriatic and the lunar landscape on Mt Etna in Sicily is something to behold!
Sadly we can’t visit any of these places at the moment but here’s a selection of wines from www.h2gwines.ie that will bring you there in spirit and through the vibrancy of the wines.
Vigna Corvina Pecorino d’Abruzzo 15.95 (Abruzzo, East-Central Italy)
Made from organically grown grapes of the restored indigenous Pecorino variety. Lots of stone fruit, spice and minerality.
Olianas Vermentino di Sardinia 24.00 (Island of Sardinia)
A textured and well balanced organic Vermetino made partially in amphorae and aged in oak. Lots of stone fruit (white peach), spicy fennel ad jasmine and subtle toasty notes.
La Ganghija Nebbiolo d’Alba 21.95 (Treiso, Piemonte North-West Italy)
This is what Nebbiolo is all about – full of cherry fruit, rose petal, liquorice and spicy notes.
Nespolino Organic Sangiovese 13.95 (Emilia-Romagna)
A lovely easy going Sangiovese that has crunchy red cherry with herbal and tobacco notes.
Polisia Rosso Piceno Superiore 22.95 (Le Marche, East Central Italy)
A very complex blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Dark cherry, lifted violet, smoke and Mediterranean herbs. Delicious and organic too.
Benanti Etna Rosso 28.00 (Mt. Etna, Sicily)
Made by the pioneers of the modern Etna wine revolution, Benanti. A sculpted and mineral red with red fruit and smoky notes that unfurl beautifully in the glass.
Colm Carter is the commercial director of H2G wines who recently launched www.h2gwines.ie You can browse the site and buy the wines they have been selling to some of the best Italian restaurants in Ireland for the past decade. He regularly travels to Italy to source wines from trade shows and visiting producers all over Italy.