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The Italian Inquirer

It appears that there is no “all encompassing” thread for Italian wines.
We all saw the massive interest in the Barolo 2016 EP campaign.
Produttori 2016 is on the horizon.
And every so on, a bargain like the Fontodi Filetta 2016 pops up!!
So feel free, let us all come together here?!? :+1: :grinning:

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Thanks for getting this going, it’s much needed. I am biased, with around 2/3 of all my wines being Italian, but it’s surely an exciting region to watch.

As well as the 2016 Barbaresco, @Sarah recently indicated that - if logistically possible to do so - a 2016 Brunello EP offer may come in the Autumn.

There’s the chianti region where several of the standard wines are now routinely excellent and we see more cru-style wines emerging as well - TWS sold a trio of Ricasoli’s 2015 ‘Raritas’ cru wines last year and perhaps there are more like that to come. Manetti has spoken a lot about trying to raise awareness of sub-regions within Chianti Classico, perhaps by labelling wines accordingly, to highlight the differences.

And then there’s Southern Italy, with new gems being discovered with delightful frequency, often at very good price points.

How about Veneto, Emilia-Romagna etc., etc.?

I like a good Bordeaux as much as the next person but what’s emerging from Italy just seems so much more exciting - as wine for drinking - than the 2019 clarets, where too much of the talk is about price shifts and investment potential.

Very good to see a thread to allow the eagle eyes of the Community to keep watch over what is coming from Italy.

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Excellent, my Italian wine knowledge is sadly lacking, so I shall be following with interest!

Currently I love almost all I have had from the NE (Alto Adige, Veneto, Valpolicella, etc.), Tuscanny (Chianti and Brunello), Sicily (La Ferla), Molise (Biferno Rosso) and Vulture. But I haven’t explored these areas in any great depth. Strangely the one area that has, so far, mostly left me unimpressed is Piedmont; I have had some Nebbiolos that I’ve liked but have been largely left unmoved by Barolo (shock horror :astonished: :grimacing: :sweat_smile:).

I look forward to having my eyes further opened to this area!

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Marvellous, a thread where I can repeat my moan about the absence of wines from Lombardy, in particular Valtellina Superiore DOCG (nebbiolo: in my very limited experience lighter and more etherial than most Barolo’s).

Yes I know other wine merchants exist… but they charge more & I do like TWS.

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I’ll join you in moaning extravaganza, for the rather limited appearance of wines from Alto Adige, Friuli, Trentino… Would love to see some serious wines from Cantina Terlano, Adriano and Tramin, Tiefenbrunner, Walch etc…etc…

Haven’t really been bitten by Tuscany or Piedmont - but maybe haven’t tried hard enough.

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I adore Valtellina Superiore. Nebbiolo is such a versatile grape. Have you ever had one from the Valle d’Aosta? They’re pale, ultra-high acid red fruit and floral. Amazingly different from any of the Piemonte or Lombardian expressions but equally delicious. They use the synonym Picoutendro for it.

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@Aspedini; @MikeFranklin; @lapin_rouge; @Inbar; @strawpig

So happy to have you onboard!! :+1: :clap:
It is all too “easy” :open_mouth: to throw money at a merchant, in order to acquire a representative Italian wine.
Has any member, had recent experience of a listed WS Italian wine, that you would be happy to recommend? :it: :+1:

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Not really - except for EP the TWS Italy offering appears to have been dormant for the past 18 months.

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I find Italy is very good at producing some of the most approachable and interesting cheaper wines.
Biferno Rosso Riserva Palladino which is not currently in the list (rather a rare omission) is a fantastic VFM wine:


And this Sicilian is another fantastic VFM:

Yet another excellent low cost value for money one is this:

A recent discovery that I immediately fell in love with but is sadly not currently on the list was:

Rather more expensive but absolutely delicious is:

Two Tuscany wines that I love, though rather more expensive again and sadly not currently on the list, are:

Then of course I have high hopes of the wines in the Chianti tasting next week! :smiley:

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Hmmm, tricky. They seem to disappear as quickly as they come on. Every Italian wine that has really impressed is sold out. I am very keen to try these two:

However, I’ve been using other suppliers to get my Italy fix recently.

I might be totally wrong, but somewhere from the depths of my brain I have a bleary impression that @Sarah mentioned there would be an Italian offer at some point this year.

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I think you just have to keep an eye out for them coming back on. I’ll certainly be picking up some more of those I have mentioned when the next vintage appears.

Oops!!

Yes, an Italian offer will be live in early July, following Champs.
However as has been noticed here - we are experiencing (wonderfully) high demand for our Italian wines at the moment - sadly this has caused some out of stocks - but I promise a huge amount of wine is on its way!
Sarah

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I don’t think that’s true - the problem is more that, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the offers have often come and gone quite quickly. Presumably, TWS hasn’t been able to lay hands on all that much stock, or these wines are popular with less vocal members.

Some examples of nice things I’ve bought that appeared and disappeared during the last 18 months include:

Lots of different 2016 chianti classico - it was a very good spread.
Flaccianello 2013, 2014 and 2015 plus a vertical case of all three.
Vigna del sorbo 2013, 2014 and 2015 plus a vertical case of all three.
Barbaresco, including 2015 produttori and two different ones from Bruno Rocca (his Rabaja is wonderful),
Lessona 2009 from Proprieta Sperino (same family as Isole e Olena).
Lots of different Ghemme and Gattinara things from Torraccia del Piantavigna.
Several 2010 Barolos. Amazing vintage.
Several 2014 Barolos, including GB Burlotto Cannubi and both Baudana wines.
Monprivato Barolo, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Cepparello 2012 and 2016.
Aged chianti ruffina from 1999 and 2006, under the name vecchia annata.
2010 and 2014 brunello from canalicchio di sopra.
Gianni brunello brunello.
Biondi-Santi brunello, 2012.
2013 massolino Barolo,
Langhe nebbiolo from massolino and cavallotto.
Riserva Barolo from cavallotto.
Sondraia.
Gran riserva chianti and the three raritas wines from Ricasoli.
Fara Ciada 2011.
Plus several from the south, eg. Ciro.

Granted, there is plenty more out there and some areas are very underrepresented but there has been quite a lot appearing and disappearing.

At the moment, things look a little limited so it may be an idea to wait and see what arrives in July. There are several chianti in the list right now, though, all of which arrived over the last few months. There are also 2 promising Langhe Nebbiolo wines from strong producers and the reputedly amazing Coste di Rose Barolo, 2015 vintage, from Vajra - all recent additions (although that Barolo would be a case-into-reserves job).

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20 of the wines you mention are from Piedmont and Tuscany
1 is from the South
0 from North and North East

And there’s precisely the issue! There’s so much more to Italy than what is on the narrow radar of most UK consumers. Italy is probably the most diverse wine country in the world, with a dizzying range of climates and cultural traditions. There’s definitely no such thing as a “representative Italian wine” :rofl:

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I think there’s definitely a case to be made to add a bit of interest to the offer from North, North East and South. Members are obviously not shy to spend a bit more per bottle on wines from Tuscany and Piedmont, so perhaps there could be more around £15 and up for these other regions.

To highlight this, only 2 regular-sized bottles, or 12% of the offer in North East and South & Islands are £15 or above. In contrast, 13 of the 20 wines (65%) from North-west and 7 of 17 in Central (41%) are £15 or above.

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Well, I agree entirely with all your points and I would lap up offers from other parts of Italy, if they were to come. My post was focussed only on wines that made a fleeting appearance during the last 18 months, though, as it didn’t seem quite right to describe the TWS offering as having been dormant, and I have also bought things from other areas from TWS, eg. gratticiaia, valpolicella and primitivo. There have also been several I’ve seen on the list but not bought, eg. Etna.

Hopefully the speed with which these wines have sold, and some more vocal requests for a greater breadth of Italian wines, can only help to make the case for Sarah to be allowed to buy more to sell on to us!

The fact that the most famous regions dominate is not surprising, though, as there is generally higher quality to be found there (as they have greater resources and an established reputation which always helps to drive up quality) and they are bound to sell far more of the stuff people know.

Compare any other major wine region and it’s a similar story. How much of the French wine on offer comes from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône or the Loire, for example? Australia and NZ - most wine comes from a very small number of areas. Spain, ditto. Brand identity is always going to have an impact.

And, let’s face it, Nebbiolo made into Barolo can be about the best wine you can have. :wink:

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To keep things in perspective though, I have really enjoyed the following wines from North East and the South in the last 18 months. Apart from one of the Etna Biancos, I don’t think any of them were over £15

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Although this is generally the case in many other wine producing countries, I really don’t think it’s the case here. The best producers from Alto Adige and Friuli are comparable to those from, say, Piedmont and Tuscany. If anything, there is a sort of flare and daring that you don’t always find in the more familiar areas, where a sense of tradition can be a double-edged sword.

In my experience, producers in Alto Adige, for example, are often exacting in standards and cut no corners (perhaps it’s the Austrian seriousness coming through), and this is true of their Co-ops as well, which are some of the best in Italy. In many cases even entry-level wines demonstrate their high standards.

I suspect that we see more wines from the more familiar areas because - as you say - they often act as a brand, or a shorthand for a style. So the average WS member feels more confident/comfortable ordering a Chianti, than a Lagrein.

I was once this person, so I accept that, on the whole, TWS will cater to the majority. Still, it’s worth raising the passion for the lesser known areas, because there are treasures to be found! :blush:

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Wot Inbar sez :grinning:

The only thing I’d disagree with is the bit about “Austrian seriousness”. Maybe I’m particularly sensitive to this, given my personal connections are mostly in the South, but stereotypes apart there is just as much focus on quality among good producers there too, especially in areas like Sicily which have become a hotbed of innovation.

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