There’s a cliche, as an Italian, that we're radicals about how things are supposed to be and how things are supposed to taste. What's the exact recipe, does it need this one thing or another thing?
My interest Italian wine is not for that reason, for me it's not about Italian versus French versus American versus New Zealand wines. It’s the huge variety, the strength of Italian winemaking technique, and that we work with a lot, a lot, a lot of different grapes. We are lucky to be from a place where, if you are open to trying different things, there’s a whole world being grown for you out there. These three wines reflect that.
Brunello di Montalcino Poggio di Sotto 2017 - Winery: Poggio di Sotto - Region: Tuscany
Brunello di Montalcino is one of the most famous Italian wines. It's an elegant wine, ruby red, and the taste is very complex — on the dark note of the flavour you get some vegetal-like traces, you have nice spices and they're all very balanced and very well integrated. I think it's one of the highest expressions of Italian wine. This producer, Poggio di Sotto, do magic in a very small area, in the fields of Montalcino, a hill town where the diverse land in the short range produces incredible taste, you get a unique side of the Brunello. There are bottles of Brunello di Montalcino that are beyond fancy, that go for €2,000, but we can’t access that so here we get the high quality without that bill.
Quarz Sauvignon 2020 - Winery: Cantina Terlano - Region: South Tyrol
This mountain wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. It’s beautiful because the altitude where it is grown means there is a variation in climate between day and night and between winter and summer. This gives excellent acidity to the grape. The environment also calls for a technique where the grapes are kept lifted off the ground to avoid the risk of snow and freezing. This means in winter they receive this extra warmth from the sun bouncing off the snow — basically, you would say they “cook” a little bit. The Quarz has beautiful tastes — grapefruit, mango, papaya — and the possibility to age very well for 10 or 15 years in the bottle and evolve. It works well with oysters, salmon, lobsters, or even lamb because of its very broad profile.
Sciacchetrà Cantina Cinque Terre 2020 - Winery: Cantina Cinque Terre - Region: Liguria
This wine is from my home region, made in the area called Cinque Terre, which is very famous for its scenery of winding little towns along the seaside. There really is no space to grow grapes because you're sealed off by these iconic cliffs and mountains which wind along the ocean. But there’s a system of terraces, built with stone walls, that have been constructed by generations of producers. What we get in this case is a white wine — it's a sweet wine — from three grapes, Bosco, Vermentino, and Albarola. The producers leave the grapes to over-mature on the plant. The very light, extra maturation that happens as air evaporates from the grape increases the quantity of sugars in the mix. There are beautiful notes of apricot and honey. Naturally, it goes well with desserts, but also with some cheeses — a spicy cheese — or you can drink it alone to enjoy the perfumes.