Italy has probably the greatest collection of indigenous grapes. Many of these are very familiar to us- Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano and let’s not forget PINOT GRIGIO. How could we? Even Trebbiano, with as many as eight variations, has lost out to P Grigio.
A Great Grape Collection gives us a Great Wine collection . It has very often also given us a ton of Confusion. So, for many of us it was easier to focus on region rather than grapes. We like Chianti but what is it made from? We like Soave and Valpolicella. What are they made from. What makes them different to Chianti? Would you like a Sagrantino di Montefalco? No idea!! (Well, actually it’s one of my all times faves…. sin scéil eile…)
See. It’s easy to confuse. BUT, believe me, it’s also easy to get a grip and handle onto Italian Grapes and their respective Wines. When you do you’ll find it’s a never ending and fabulous journey! Exciting. Right?
How to Start?
O’Briens has a really excellent Sale of Italian Wine beginning Wednesday Oct 16th .
Let’s look at a few.
I have been long time critic of Trebbiano. So few great examples. So many awful ones! Then Pinot Grigio became very, very popular and I had similar views …. I had to be careful or I would be criticising too many wines. (The PG’s deserved it – pear juice with no structure or length. Many have now changed for the better.)
Recently I tried the Lunaria Vola Volé Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. On Sale at €13.95. It’s a delightful wine, Organic and Bee Friendly – yes, there is such a certification! Read all about this wine HERE
A feature of many Italian red wines these days is that they are ‘appassimento’. This simply means that the grapes have been dried out/dessicated before fermentation. This concentrates flavours. Valpolicella grapes in the Veneto is often subjected to this to make Amarone wines. ‘Ripasso’ means something different. This is where a wine is refermented on the lees of a wine already made – mostly associated with Valpolicella on the lees of an Amarone.
The style of the Q Valpolicella Ripasso down to €14.95 in the Sale explains it all. This is classic brilliance. rich cherry like flavours, intense structure and mouthwatering finish. Read all about it HERE. An exceptional wine.
A great value example to try for rich stylish flavours would be the Nero Oro Appassimento from Sicily at only €11.95 or the Colpasso Nero d’Avola Appassimento at €12.95. Both are excellent.
It’s a great Sale with 20 to 40% off the entire Italian range at O’Briens.
Don’t Forget the O’Briens Wine Festival. Tickets on Sale Now!
The dates are:
Thursday 7th Nov (6-9pm) in the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay Cork. Tickets= €15 each (or 2 for €20)
Friday 8th Nov (6-9pm) and Saturday 9th Nov (2-5pm & 6-9pm) in The Printworks Dublin Castle. Tickets= €30 each
This year O’Briens will be welcoming 75 of their producers from around the world and pouring over 350 wines in Dublin. Cork will welcome 45 producers, pouring 199 wines. Ticket price includes all wine samples, a book with all the wines with tasting notes as well as a Tipperary crystal glass to take home. Good Deal!
There are also free masterclasses on throughout the festival- spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis on the night.
Proceeds of the night will go to charity partners- Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Down Syndrome Ireland.