Never has the Italian wine scene been more dynamic, enthuses Ian D’Agata. We are spoiled for choice, with a wealth of wines on offer that communicate the passion of vine growers and winemakers for their land, and for the palette of indigenous grapes available to them.

Although France is the source of the world’s most expensive and sought-after wines, it is Italy that offers wine lovers the largest variety of great wines to choose from. Clearly, this is the best of times for Italian wines. When I look back at my last 35 years following Italy’s wines, it’s clear to me that Italian wines have never been better. Gone are the quickly oxidising white wines of the 1960s and early 1970s, which might have tasted great while on holiday but that travelled poorly and rarely had much to say once you were back home. And it is just as rare to find red wines marred by dirty smells and flavours nowadays.

Over the last 10 years especially, there has been an amazing coming of age, and everyone on Italy’s wine scene seems to be contributing in a generally positive way. There’s a generation of talented young individuals who have taken stock of the potential of their grapes and land, and who are determined to make high-quality wines that speak of Italy – and, even better, of their specific part of Italy. Plus highly professional consultant winemakers who, for the most part, have realised that they can’t just apply the same tried-and-tested recipe to every estate they work with. Government institutions and consortia are also making positive contributions, sponsoring studies to explore the soils and microclimates in specific viticultural areas, and introducing new, more logical, classifications, often with the assistance of academia.

He picks his 10 exciting wines showcasing the variety Italy has to offer…