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En Primeur
Italy

Justerini & Brooks
En Primeur Italy

While Italy's reputation as a wine-growing region is undoubtedly built on history and the legacy attached to names like Barolo, Chianti and Brunello, there are also amazing things happening across the rest of the country. A quick look at Tenuta Delle Terre Nere on the north face of Mount Etna and at Rocca del Principe, who are making outstanding Fiano from the prime Arianiello Hill in Lapio, Campania - for example - and it is clear the quality and diversity of Italian wines has never been better. In fact, it's improving year after year. New artisan producers keep popping up onto our radar, passionate growers who make utterly compelling wine from indigenous varieties in far flung corners of the country. These are exciting times indeed.

Italy 2015

“Non Si Siedono”

These are words borrowed from Alex Sanchez at Brovia which for us perfectly sum up all that is great about this vintage: “They don’t sit down.” For as generous and richly-fruited as these 2015s are, the best wines clearly have posture and a certain energy. They are alive. Silvia Altare goes as far as to call this a “radiant” vintage, whilst the team at Paolo Scavino consider the wines “amazing” and Castello di Verduno wine-maker Mario Andrion thinks “it is one of the most beautiful vintages ever.”

Italy 2014

The snow-capped Langhe region provided a perfect live map of Barolo & Barbaresco’s finest vineyards during my visit to Piedmont in early March. Bare, melted patches amidst the vast blanket of white revealed exactly where lay the vineyards with the best exposures and warmest micro climates. In the old days this is how entrepreneurial growers decided on which plots to expand into next, where to do their deals. These very patches yielded some superb wines in the newly-released 2014 vintage, a year that had its challenges but one that, in the end, proved well-suited to the late-ripening Nebbiolo vines when grown on hillside sites. For the vintage’s greats, think Brunate, Cerequio, Cannubi, Monvigliero and right across Barbaresco… to call out just a few.

Italy 2013

At its pinnacle 2013 is an excellent Barolo vintage. Stylistically the wines are in the classical mould without being as daunting in their youth as other old-school greats such as 2006 and 2010. They offer crisp, crystalline flavours wrapped in tight-knit, intense but refined structures. They favour energy over weight but don’t lack for depth and transmit a very transparent vineyard character. Such is there finesse that they should start to drink well in the medium term however they have the structure and intensity to last into the next two decades. Whilst not quite as consistent across the board as 2010 or 2004, the general quality level is high and the wines of the very greatest crus are nothing short of outstanding.

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