I was lucky enough to go to Italy in June – and I have come back in love.
Not with a dark haired dusky eyed young thing, but with a way of life, an approach, a sense of optimism and an inbred sense of style.
I am an optimist by nature, glass half full, rarely half empty, that sort of thing, and it seems that the Italian always has a zest, a glint in the eye and real value in tradition.
I have been introduced to wine makers and growers whose passion is palpable and tangible; people at one with the land and the local traditions.
Not only that, the wine business is not here today gone tomorrow, but an industry of generations.
Having sat at a table with Sylvia Allegrini (of the famous Allegrini family), listening to tales of her grandfather’s efforts in the vineyard, like it happened yesterday, shows the investment in time, not money.
Italian wines can be a little difficult to understand, mainly because the country produces wines from hundreds of grape varieties, and the laws governing the methods used, and the regions are very difficult to understand.
But don’t let that be a problem; a little persistence pays off!
My advice every time is don’t go too low in budget, and listen to the information a good retailer gives you.
Cheap Soave and Pinot Grigio is going to put you off Italian wine rather than endear you. A budget of £7 to £10 is a great place to start.
One label that has caught our attention recently is Il Carretto.
They have a lovely dry white from Sicily made with the Grillo grape (more well known for Marsala than dry white).
This is brilliant, dry and citrusy with touches of almond and is often found in our fridge door with the top loosened!
Their red is from Puglia and is crafted from the Sangiovese grape variety; beautifully light with cherry jam fruit flavour and not too much tannin.
Both these wines are a perfect way to start enjoying Italian wines without breaking the bank – £6.99 each!
Published: February 6, 2012
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