Anthony Rose: An Italian wine revival

 

Which wine country has the greatest capacity to confuse, irritate, reward, inspire and delight? Got it in one: Italy. It's not surprising for a country of 20 wine regions stretching from the Alps to the Mediterranean. Adding to the confusion, Wine Grapes (Allen Lane, £120) a scholarly new work co-authored by Jancis Robinson MW, tells us that Italy leads the world in the number of commercially produced native-grape varieties: 377 compared to France's 204 and Spain's 84.

The best place for Italophiles is an independent Italian-wine specialist. The list is long, but to mention just a handful, Lea & Sandeman and Vini Italian in London, Oeno from Gloucestershire, Bath's Great Western Wine, and both Raeburn and Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh really know their cipolle. In contrast, high street and supermarket customers have often found Italy to be a graveyard, but summer-press tastings have revealed encouraging signs of vigour.

Marks & Spencer's new Italian range attempts to provide the sappy freshness that makes Italy's wines so appetising. Displaying the country's new thirst for intriguing dry whites, the 2012 Etna Bianco, £10.99, is a case in point: a richly concentrated yet bone-dry white that springs from Etna's volcanic soils. A counterpart is 2011 Etna Rosso, £9.99, which is bright and strawberryish, almost pinot noir, with a spicy cherry-like undertow.

Bright new reds include the 2010 Frappato, £7.99, a moreish, barbecue-friendly summery red with fragrance and summer-pudding bite, while, most intriguing of all, the new 2011 Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, £11.99, from the Marche near Ancona, displays a spice and rose-petal perfume with an infusion of scented fruit. It's equally intriguing to see the bad old chianti wicker flask on display. The retro fiasco is virtually a visual joke now, yet the liquid within the 2012 Chianti Flask, £9.99, turns out to be a genuine chianti of good quality with hints of herb, spice and cherry.

Chianti can be a minefield but it's pleasing to see so many good examples. Sainsbury's juicy red-berryish Winemaker's Selection Chianti Riserva, £6.99, is reasonable, while the superior 2009 Cecchi Sagrata Chianti Classico, £9.99, Waitrose, shows that acidic, textured richness and succulent sour-cherry fruit quality that you hope for in a chianti at under a tenner.

For an affordably juicy rosso for the summer, I doubt that you'll be disappointed by the Waitrose Rich and Intense Italian Red, £4.99. It's not a looker, but this southern Italian native-grape blend packs a punch of peppery and plum-spice fruitiness above its weight.

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering