Time for Tom to give the lowdown on Italy

What is there not to love about Italy? Amazing food, beautiful landscapes, history and culture some would be envious of and apparently, it makes some pretty impressive cars.

Italy is also the world’s largest producer of wine, it made a staggering 54.8 million hectolitres in 2018.  As a wine making country Italy it can be one of the most confusing to understand, with so many indigenous grape varieties and regions that could be a place or grape. However, once you discover Italian wines, you can quickly find yourself in wine heaven.

Ahead of our 2019 tasting tour, we spoke to our lovely and knowledgeable Tom Surgey about Italy and whether he has any advice….

So tell us Tom, what is so great about Italian wines?

“In a nutshell; diversity. In the same way that we think of Italian food spanning a wide range of delicious flavours, textures and styles, Italian wine should be considered exactly the same. Italy produces deliciously fruity ‘gluggers’, opulent and silky reds and also, some of the most excitingly spiky, tannic, challenging styles of wine in the world – you can play it safe and have a brilliant time, or experiment endlessly; there will be something you never knew existed around every corner.”

What’s exciting you from Italy right now?

“Once you’ve bathed your tastebuds in Sangiovese (san-geo-vay-see) and Pinot Grigio, you must step out and try Italy’s myriad other varietals. Our household LOVES Pecorino – and not just the cheese! – it’s also a brilliantly bright, fruity white grape from the Marche and Abruzzo regions. If you love ‘the Greege’ you must get your pals round immediately, whack on some disco bangers and slosh Pecorino at them from every available receptacle.”

With all that choice, any top tips on funky stuff to look out for?

“Personally, I am on an orange wine adventure and if you haven’t tried this textural, mind-bending style yet, seek out thick-skinned grape Ribolla Gialla’s amber whites from Collio in Friuli on the Slovenian border.  Steak fans and lovers of tannin need to try the infamous reds from the village of Montefalco, the indigenous Sagrantino grape brings more tannin and power to them than almost any other red on earth!

There’s two suggestions… I’m desperate to say more but you’ll have to flag me down at the shows and share a glass to get further tips!”

To discover more simply go and meet some of our Italian exhibitors who are joining us this year:

Famiglia Cecchi               (Cardiff / London)

Masi                                   (Manchester)

Pellegrino Wines & Co   (Cardiff)

R&D Selection                 (Cardiff)

Luca Wine Ltd                (Cambridge)

Schenk Italian Wineries  (Cardiff / Cambridge / London / Manchester)