Armchair Tour of Italian Wine
Not surprisingly, I LOVE Italian wine, but somewhat surprisingly I have not been to Italy since I began studying wine. I had planned on rectifying that travesty this year until this little thing called the pandemic happened.
So now like the rest of the world I have to be content with armchair travel! And there really is no better armchair travel than opening a bottle of wine.
If you are looking to take your own armchair trip through Italy here’s my recommended itinerary! At the shop I manage (Edmund's Oast Exchange) we are offering 20% off Italian wine for the holidays. Prices listed below are shelf prices before the 20% discount!
Please remember the importance of shopping local this holiday season! Ask your own local wine shop if they carry the following wines as they are all delicious and small independent producers. #shoplocal #shopsmall
Radikon Sivi 2017 $45
Let’s start up in the northeastern Italian region of Friuli with one of the leaders in bringing back the age-old tradition of skin contact white wine aka orange wine! Sasa Radikon is carrying on his father’s legacy and has added a bit of his own influence with wines like this Pinot Grigio that spends a little less time on the skins (than their others) and consequently is a great intro to the category. If you have not experience orange wine you owe this bottle to yourself!
Foradori Teroldego 2018 $34
We cannot leave northeastern Italy without visiting the little known region of the Dolomites where Elisabetta Foradori reigns supreme! She is responsible for saving several native grapes of the region from extinction like this Teroldego, which is one of the most perfectly balanced red wines I know of!
Quintarelli Primofiore 2017 $77
Heading south from the Dolomites we find ourselves in the Veneto, and here the king is Quintarelli! Giuseppe Quintarelli basically created the style that we now know as Amarone. This is a wine made from dried grapes resulting in intense flavors and body. We only have two bottles of his Amarone, and it costs a fortune. But thankfully we have his “entry level” wine: Primofiore for $77. It is made up of the star Venetian red grape, Corvina, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet grapes are partially dried (as is traditional in the region), but the Corvina grapes are pressed fresh. It is a great intro to the Quintarelli excellence.
Scarpa Barbaresco Tettineive 2016 $55
Now let’s head to northwestern Italy and to my hands-down favorite Italian region: the Piedmont or Piemonte! Here, Nebbiolo reigns supreme and reaches its highest potential in the iconic communes of Barolo and Barbaresco. Scarpa is an incredible producer of both Barolo and Barbaresco, and we only receive their gems occasionally so grab this while you can!
Ciacci Rosso di Montalcino 2018 $29
Of course, from here we have to head south to Tuscany and find the best expressions of Sangiovese. In the village of Montalcino we find a variation (or clone of Sangiovese) known as Brunello. The wine known as Brunello di Montalcino is made from the oldest vines and is quite age-worthy and expensive. Thankfully you can also find terrific examples from younger vines that are labelled as Rosso di Montalcino. This Rosso from Ciacci is a steal!
La Sibilla Falanghina 2018 $21
Ok, we’ve been drinking a lot of red so let’s move south and discover one of the great whites of Italy -- Falanghina from Campania. This is a medium bodied white brimming with orchard fruit and plenty of minerality. Luigi di Meo and his children represent a long lineage (five generations!) here in this historic region.
Arianna Occhipinti Frappato 2017 $48
Even further south and off the coast we find the volcanic island of Sicily. This is another of my personal fave wine regions. There is so much youthful energy as Sicily experiences a revitalization. No one could embody this more so than Arianna Occhipinti who began working with her uncle (founder of COS winery) at the age of sixteen. Her Frappato is brimming with flavors of tart, fresh cherries but has an undeniably earthy backbone. I could honestly drink an entire bottle of this by myself :)