Italian Wine Revolution

Background to Italian Wine Revolution:

In recent times there’s been a revolution in Italian wine making, resulting in Italy becoming one of the most dynamic, passion-filled sources of great wine, that deserves a place on the table of any serious wine enthusiast.

In the vineyards, lower yields and more sensitive viticulture has led to riper, healthier fruit with less aggressive tannins; in the winery, gentler, shorter fermentation plus a move to shorter ageing in new French barriques produced fresher, fruitier wines with lower tannin levels. The result is well-balanced wines delivering fragrance and complexity alongside fruit and accessibility.

In the meantime, the moves made by the modernists have lead to the traditionalists raising their game, too.

Reader Promotion

Go and discover the new breed of Italian wines for yourself. Throughout May a host of London restaurants will be offering a good range of first-class Italian wines by the glass at reasonable prices.

Participating Restaurants:

1 Blossom Street (020 7247 6532), 1 Lombard Street (0870 7808147), L’Abat Jour (020 7588 5489), Amerigo Vespucci (020 7513 0288), The Ark in Notting Hill (020 7 229 4024), The Cinnamon Club (020 7222 2555), Home (020 7684 8618), Nababbo (020 7621 0709), The Peasant (020 7336 7726) and Vivat Bacchus (020 7353 2648).

WHITE WINES on offer:

Pinot Bianco Vinnaioli Jermann 2002, Friuli
Sandwiched between the Alps and the Adriatic, Friuli has a history of producing light, aromatic wines that are immensely drinkable but of little interest outside the region. Silvio Jermann has worked almost single-handedly to change all that. The charismatic character behind the Jermann wines has inspired a generation of wine makers to produce truly world-class wines. Perhaps one of the least well known of the wines from the Jermann stable, the Pinot Bianco is intense and minerally with a floral tone on the nose and a wonderfully balanced fine finish.

Casal di Serra Verdicchio Classico Umani Ronchi 2002, Marches
Umani Ronchi is another high-quality pioneer in areas not known for fine wine. It owns 110 hectares in the Verdicchio Classico area, 60 hectares in the Rosso Conero, and 30 in Abruzzi. It is the leading exponent of two native wines of the Marches: Verdicchio and Rosso Conero, produced from the eponymous Verdicchio, and Montepulciano, respectively. Casal di Serra is a single-vineyard Verdicchio situated in Montecarotto. Light over-ripening of the grapes and lees contact give the wine its particular characteristics of roundness and softness, and it has become one of Italy’s classic whites.

San Vincenzo Anselmi 2003
The sports car driving Roberto Anselmi has become one of the icons of the Italian white wine scene. Something of a rebel, he withdrew his wines from the auspices of the Soave DOC, and now produces wines simply labelled IGT, as he felt that the regions new winemaking laws only served to undermine production of high quality wines. Anselmi’s San Vincenzo is outstanding, pale gold in colour with an elegant nose, soft concentrated fruit flavours and wonderfully balanced acidity. Look out too for Roberto’s single vineyard Capitel Foscarino and Capitel Croce.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano Panizzi 2002
The beautiful high-rise medieval town of San Gimignano must be one of the most beautiful in Tuscany but in wine terms is something of a backwater. The annual arrival of hundreds of thousands of thirsty tourists has meant that the regions winemakers have had to care little about the quality of their product. But Giovanni Panizzi, Milanese by birth, has however taken a different tack. Quality is all he cares about and his small estate is now helping to re-establish the region as an area for fine wine. Pale lemon in colour, the wine is not aromatic but is elegant, dry and flinty, it is ideal as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to seafood or lighter fish dishes.

RED WINES on offer:

Eremo Langhe Rosso Fontanafredda 2001, Piemonte
The Fontanafredda Estate in Piemonte epitomises modern Italian classics. With its long-standing royal heritage, it had come in the 1970s and 1980s to embody everything that was bad in the Italian wine business. However, new active management, led by the peerless Danilo Drocco, has led to a sea change in the estate’s fortunes and it is again one of the most respected and quality-minded wineries in Italy. Eremo is a product of the modern trend in Piemonte of blending two of the region’s native grape varieties (Nebbiolo and Barbera) to create a more harmonious and integrated whole than is often the case when wines are produced from a single variety.

Tre Podere La Brancaia 2001, Tuscany
Tre comes from the outstanding Podere La Brancaia and is a mini super-Tuscan of great quality and elegance. The wine is named Tre for three separate but complementary reasons: it is a product of three grape varieties (Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot); it is sourced from the three properties owned by the Widmer family (La Brancaia, Poppi and Brancaia in Maremma); and it is the introductory wine of the three produced by the family, which also includes a brilliant Chianti Classico and Il Blu. Dark, brooding and intense, it is amazingly approachable now, and is a great introduction to one of Tuscany’s forward-thinking estates.

Brolio Chianti Classico 2002
The Brolio estate in Chianti Classico is a classic story of a Tuscan Rennaissance. With a history dating back to 1141, the estate has had many rises and falls in fortune. Under the guidance of Francesco Ricasoli, the 32nd Baron of Brolio, the estate is enjoying one of its most sustained and successful periods. The Brolio Chianti Classico is produced from estate grown grapes, principally Sangiovese with a limited amount of other red grapes added. It is bright ruby red and has a generous and enveloping bouquet with hints of violets and ripe bilberries. On the palate it is full and velvety, with a long, lingering finish.

St Cecilia Planeta 2001
The Planeta family has been pioneering the production of fine wines in Sicily since the mid 1990’s and have built their reputation largely using international grape varieties, particularly Chardonnay and Merlot. However, they believe strongly in the potential quality of a number of Sicilian varieties principally Nero D’Avola. The 2001 St Cecilia is 100% Nero D’Avola sourced from two separate vineyard sites: Dispensa in Menfi and Buonivini in Noto. The two areas produce quite distinct styles of wine and blending from the two regions adds depth and complexity to the finished article. The wine itself is purple red with a violet hue and is wonderfully open and expressive with touches of red fruit such as plums, berries and liquorice. On the palate it is elegant and concentrated but open with Hints of hazelnuts and carob, peppercorns and fig jam.

In association with Enotria Winecellars