I didn’t used to believe it when people said you don’t choose who you fall in love with. Then I fell, and fell hard for the wines from perhaps the most complex country in the world: Italy. With 498 indigenous grapes and counting, 329 Denominazione di Origine Controllata and 74 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita on top, that’s a lot of stuff to wrap your head around. Yet this doyenne of a wine country wouldn’t let me quit and so I’m in it for the long haul.
There are numerous ways to attempt tackling this tricky subject. The one being pioneered by the Vinintaly International Academy is perhaps the most innovative, a grape specific exploration lead by world expert Ian D’Agata. The course tackles the fruit first and the wines second. The Italian Wine Scholar on the other hand puts the terroir first, highlighting wines region by region. Knowing things in such detail, down to grape anthrocynin profiles and soil types is great for the true vini italiani geek, but for the average consumer it has it’s issues. Not least that when you’re in a shop staring at labels you’re unlikely to have an expert by your side to help out.
Instead, I prescribe a slightly different technique, which combines the fun with the practical; try a different DOC a week. Learn about the region, the grape and frankly enjoy a glass or two along the way! A well-rounded, well-thought out, and frankly well-quaffed exploration of Italian wine, suitable for everyone.
This new series aims to take you along on the ride. I’ll be sharing my insights, knowledge and tasting notes as I go. After all we all know that the most Italian approach to wine is to share it…