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Italian Tasting Advice


Hi all. I’ve only ever really dabbled with Italian wines in my journey so far and I feel that needs to change. I’ve set myself the challenge of a festive Italian tasting (just for friends, no pressure) and would like some advice. I’m planning early as, well, I like to get stuck in :slight_smile:

With a very approximate budget of £100, which 3-5 bottles would you choose to showcase a ‘tour’ of Italy? Food (likely nibbles) will be chosen to match the wines and no preference of red, white, sparkling, rose or sweet


You can’t really cover Italy in 3-5 wines so there are tough choices to make. Sadly this means the south and islands are not represented in my selection. I don’t think you could put a list together and omit sangiovese or nebbiolo, and I’d go for a Valpolicella Ripasso as a third red because I love it, basically!
As for the whites, I’d have a Verdicchio - I’d rather have one from Matellica than Castelli di Jesi personally, but there aren’t any on the list at the moment. I’ve gone for a Gavi as well, although I was tempted by the Melis Iocalia Vermentino. As the whites are a bit under budget, I’ve stuck in a Moscato as well to cover sweet and sparkling in the same bottle.


Some nice choices and one or two that had caught my eye already! Thanks!


I recommend this:


I would consider narrowing the theme geographically somewhat… say Piedmont-Alto Adige-Veneto to start with.

Moscato di Asti - not sure which, this one is currently stocked
Soave - the one @cgoldin mentioned
Alto Adige White or Red - this PB for example
Valpolicella - this ripasso maybe
Nebbiolo - someone mentioned this not long ago, I think


Alternatively you could do a South and Sicily mix, Italy is just too big to cover in one small tasting (These wines are imo very good value):


Oh wow!

A taste of Italy in 3-5 bottles!

Quite a task. Think they have the most amount of native grapes of any country in the world.

However, for red:

A Sangiovese - from Tuscany, suggest a chianti, think Brunello would be a budget buster
A Nebbiolo - anything from Piedmont, according to budget, but something with a little age would show the grape at its best
Just one more red is very tough but how about an Aglianico from the south (nice Taurusi with some age)?

Again, too many whites to think about, but To contrast familiarity / awareness with a surprise (on quality, hopefully):

Pinot Grigio! - not the mass-produced swill, but a really high quality example from a good producer in Alto Adige
A Soave - again not the usual filth some people might be aware of but good quality producer (Pieropan?)

Sorry, no specific bottles suggested. TWS should have something in most of these categories and no doubt the community would be able to provide further guidance.


Sorry for the repetition, this took an hour as I was trying to cook and get the kids to eat at the same time.

Lots of excellent suggestions above, particularly narrowing it down to regions


Hmm, yes had wondered if it was going to be a stretch. Perhaps I’ll focus on the north / Tuscany with a south / Sicily as a follow up

Some really interesting suggestions so far - thanks!


I would suggest this lovely white wine, if you can find it - no longer in stock with TWS.

or https://www.thewinesociety.com/shop/HistoricProductDetail.aspx?pd=IT26281

for a superb Valpollicella, I would also endorse this wine - https://www.thewinesociety.com/shop/ProductDetail.aspx?pd=IT26401

Finally, a fresh, but fruity Lambrusco would be a challenge to the rich wines from Piedmont.


With regard to Nebbiolo. I drank this last night and thought it was as good as many a Barbaresco…

…it has the desired tar and roses complexity which is all too rarely encountered in Nebbiolo at this price. It’s brisk acidity might be too much for some but I loved its freshness.


I’ve chosen wines with native Italian grapes. Choosing 5 good quality bottles at around £20 per bottle isn’t easy using TWS.

I think you have to have a Nebbiolo there, and to stick within your budget it maybe best to go for a Langhe Nebbiolo which also tend to drink better younger than a barolo. TWS don’t sell it but the Vietti Perbacco Langhe Nebbiolo is excellent value for money.

You also need a good quality Chianti to showcase sangiovese.

The Fontodi is perfect.

For the final red wine, I’d choose an Amarone if you can find something in the budget with enough age or alternatively go for a good quality Valpolicella such as La Grola Veronese IGT, Allegrini which I have but is no longer in stock with TWS.

White wine is harder. Wines like Gavi and Pinot Grigio are often great quaffing wines but more difficult to find examples that will wow you.

I’m a big fan of Fiano and the Planeta Cometa Fiano from Sicily is excellent, although yet again it is unfortunately no longer available from TWS but it is worth tracking down a bottle.

Finally, for the 2nd white wine, I’ve plumped for a Tuscan Vermentino and the La Spinetta Toscana Vermentino which is a really top quality example of Vermentino.


You cannot “showcase Italy” with 4 or 5 bottles. It’s meaningless! Would you attempt to do this for France?

More interesting to focus on a region - Piemonte? Sicily ? - if you want to “showcase” with so few bottles?


A Martian would disagree


You can still showcase an example of Italy with just a few bottles. Certainly if you have bottles that showcase various different indigenous grapes. Personally, I would have thought that was a better introduction that drilling down into a specific region.

It’s pretty much impossible to do a full showcase of the whole of any country. Maybe you’d prefer different terminology, an introduction to Italian wine rather than a showcase? :wink:


Yeah, go Hollywood and call it a re-boot.

Think you know Chianti / Pinot Grigio / Soave etc? Well, try these and prepare to have your expectations smashed out of the water!


Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready for the blockbuster production of Summer 2019, " The Italian Job"

Prepare to have your tastebuds dazzled by the big names of Italian viticulture. The biggest, baddest grapes are here and on your table.

Featuring Sangiovese, Fiano, Pinot Grigio and the biggest baddest one of all, yes it’s Nebbiolo.


Haha, I can rename it if it causes offence! :wink:

A couple of suggestions for the Fontodi Chianti. Would a 2016 example be drinking well now? In fact i think I have the '15 somewhere so I could have already made a start to the collection!


I also have the 2015 but haven’t opened any yet. My drinking window on cellartracker is showing as 2019 to 2028 so give it a whirl and let us know!


Then follow that up with the sequel:

Surprises from the Italian Peninsula. Lesser-known, but no less excellent examples like Ruche, Petite Arvine, Nero Mascalese, Greco etc.