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The merit (or lack thereof) of Italian Whites


I have could have written this! My biggest bug bear EVER… :wink:


When you go to an Italian restaurant in the UK, OK, sure! But then the food usually has practically nothing to do with the food in Italy either (except in London maybe) :slight_smile:

In Italy it’s a very different story.

I would challenge anyone to find a more delicious white for £13 than the I Frati Lugana. I love variety, but if I was forced (maybe at gunpoint?) to have a “house wine”, this would be it, no question.

I could name a few more producers from most of the above categories… verdicchio from San Lorenzo, grillo from Marco de Bartoli or Nino Barraco, fiano from Guido Marsella, zibibbo from Arianna Occhipinti, lots of great blends from Friuli, Soave from Vicentini or Tamellini, or…

I genuinely think there is more white interest in Italy than pretty much anywhere else.


I don’t think that was the issue as such, more to do with lack of availability out with TWS and in the general market place.


Well, the British market has always been Francocentric, no? With the ex-colonies providing reassuringly English-speaking backup :slight_smile:


I mean what have the Romans ever done for us…?!?

Definitely mentions wine… :wink:


Of course the important bit of France (Bordeaux) was British too :wink:


And Dutch… don’t forget their contribution to the left bank :wink:


Trebbiano d’Abruzzo… yes, there are only a few producers who produce interesting ones, but that’s a bit of a special case, given that the two you mention are cult wineries par excellence. Masciarelli’s is good too, and a whole lot cheaper, as is Villa Tiberio’s.

Caggiano, yeah, there’s another good one… lean on someone to buy in some more of that. Leah :slight_smile:

And no one’s even mentioned timorasso, nosiola, ribolla gialla, greco or carricante yet.

I rest my case :slight_smile:


Coincidentally I’m just having a glass of this

And i must say I’m enjoying it (although it’s yet more homework - you see how committed I am!) Not amazing but enjoyable with a (quorn) escalope and vegetables.


The WS don’t sell it unfortunately, but I love Filippi Soave


They traded, and drained the marshes, but was it ever part of Holland in the same way that it was ruled by an English King?


Not really sure Steve, I know they had a huge impact …but as for rule… one for the history experts I think :thinking: (which is not me :rofl:!)


Just did a bit of a survey on Italian whites available at well known merchants, not going to list all but L&W for instance list 450 Italian reds and 33 white wines, which I think supports my point, among them there is a very good Verdicchio Bucci Reserva, and an Armeis with three different cuvees from the same producer whom I do not know but it must be worth a punt, but not exactly a huge choice when all the varieties are taken into account.

I think the problem on here is many of the comments are coming from people who are die hard enthusiasts who are prepared to go the extra mile to find an obscure wine or a difficult to find one in a way even knowledgable wine drinkers would not.
Suikos Trebbianos are almost all only available in Italy, and those very few good producers are in a sea of Trebbiano you would not cross the road for, and the two I mentioned are not really that good though Valentinis can be, see the huge bottle variations commented on in Cellartracker, just living off their cult status, I wrote a piece in the early days here on Valentinis Trebbiano under a Unicorn Wines Heading, it’s back there somewhere.

As for the other Italian whites not mentioned , I did say after my mentioning a few “and on and on” I was hardly going to list all several hundred of them, be fair.

And talking of being fair, Italy does a lot better than Spain that only until very recently where a renaissance in white wine has happened and only in a few grapes, the quality with very few exceptions was abysmal, everything seemed oxidised and aged into extinction.

I should add that until last Autumn we had a place in Italy for over 25 years just outside San Remo just south of Barolo/Arneis country and I did after that first terrific Arneis dig out virtually all that were available, which wasn’t that many, and it is that I base my comments on, I could do to a lesser extent the same with Barolo, like Burgundy, some very expensive mistakes were made amongst the obvious joys.


I started a thread a while back, I guess that these days there are a lot of very good alternatives and even the same grape but grown elsewhere that has more flavour. I still haven’t really found an Italian white that stands out at being different.


I guess the major Dutch contribution to the Left Bank was to drain it - it was nothing but a swamp until then. There was no Medoc as a wine area before the 17th century.

The impact is maybe different to 300 years of British rule of Bordeaux, but still profound - as we wouldn’t have any of the left bank wineries in existence without the Dutch. Hurray to that! :smiley:


To me this highlights the fact that we are rather spoilt in the UK.

Unlike many European countries - we can access wines from all over the world relatively easily. Having had no wine industry of which to speak until very recently, we pretty much relied on other countries’ wines; not to mention a long history of trade and a past Empire. Perhaps our expectations, therefore, are a little skewed. We want variety and we want it now. We want obscure grapes to be available, and local wineries from minor wine producing areas to sell us their wares.

But it’s a really different picture in France, Germany, Spain and so on. Much of what you buy from your local merchant - will be your local (and familiar) wine. You wouldn’t expect to find three excellent producers of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo in shop in, say, Nantes. Why would you? You got your own Muscadet, and the whole of the Loire to enjoy. Most of these local wines were traditionally made for local people to consume.

Things are obviously changing - and I think the British thirst (quite literally) for local varieties from other countries is commendable and sets us apart from our European brethren, but this may well mean that our expectations won’t be always met, and perhaps are even a little unrealistic.


Yes @Inbar, after the hundred years war in the 1600s , raising the gravel beds on the left bank . The wanted to plant initially white grapes in order to distill into eau de vie and sweeter table wines .


Interesting debate. Got me thinking about other countries red white proportions (no one disputes France produces some great whites, but there must be thousands of shipping containers worth of mediocrity from the Loire, Bordeaux, Alsace, Provence (rose) etc.). Looking at the current TWS list, the split, excluding sparking and fortified is:

France 60/40 red/white
Italy 67/33
Spain 80/20
Germany 08/92
USA 70/30
Chile 63/37
S Africa 55/45
Australia 70/30
NZ 50/50

Whites from Italy are present in similar proportions to those from most of the other major countries on the list, so I guess TWS buyers feel there is reasonable quality to be had from a range of areas and price points?


Glad they changed their mind!! :wink:


Surely what your L&W figures illustrate is that the British market undervalues Italian whites, not that they aren’t any good? :slight_smile: