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Italy’s winemaking giants: Big can be beautiful

In the world of wine, smaller is often regarded as better, with boutique estates and cult micro-cuvées taking the top spots. But, as Ian D'Agata discovers, large companies with their diverse portfolios and huge volumes of wine, can offer big surprises...

Best buys from Italy’s winemaking giants

Cavit, Altemasi Graal Riserva Metodo Classico Brut, Trentino 2004
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
By far the best wine made by Cavit, this is a worldclass bubbly. Complex thanks to age, this boasts breadcrumbs, butter and apricots.
Price £33–£37 All About Wine, Hangingditch
Drink 2014
Alc 13.5%

Valdo, Prosecco Extra Dry, Veneto NV
16/20pts (86/100pts)
Apricot, green apple and buttercups. Fresh, uncomplicated but well made and satisfying.
Price NA/UK valdo.com
Drink 2014
Alc 12.5%

Torre Rosazza, Friulano, Colli Orientali del Friuli 2008

17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
One of Friuli’s best estates. Great Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla and Friulano. This latter wine ages well, with marzipan, pear, herbs and peach.
Price £20 Premier Wines
Drink 2014
Alc 13%

La-Vis, Vigneti di Montagna Pinot Grigio, Trentino 2011
16.5/20pts (88/100pts)
Green apple, pear and white flowers, with sneaky concentration. Much better than other Pinot Grigios at this price point.
Price £10 Waitrose
Drink 2014
Alc 12.5%

Cantina Tollo, Madregale Bianco, Terre di Chieti, Abruzzo 2012
15.5/20pts (85/100pts)
Easygoing wine made from Chardonnay in stainless steel. Bright and crisp, an uncomplicated glass.
Price £6.99–£10 Exel Wines, Les Caves de Pyrène, Roberson Wine
Drink 2014
Alc 12%

Nino Negri, 5 Stelle Sfursat, Valtellina, Lombardy 2009
17.5/20pts (91/100pts)
Amarone-like, but more refined, thanks to the Nebbiolo grape. Macerated red cherries, cocoa and sweet spices: a memorable experience.
Price £41–£47 AG Wines, Exel Wines, Winedirect
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 15.5%

Rocca delle Macie, Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany 2010
16.75/20pts (89/100pts)
Wines improving by leaps and bounds; the Riserva Famiglia Zingarelli is another winner. Savoury and fresh, with ageing potential, from a fantastic Tuscan vintage.
Price £16 James Nicholson
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 13.5%

Rocca di Montemassi, Le Focaie Sangiovese, Maremma, Tuscany 2010
16.75/20pts (89/100pts)
Fresh and easygoing, juicy yet savoury, perfect for Sunday brunch.
Price £9–£18 Underwood Wine Warehouse, James Fearson, Woodford Wine Room, Wimbledon Wine Cellar
Drink 2014–2015
Alc 13.5%

Pasqua, Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto 2008
16.5/20pts (88/100pts)
Full-bodied, rich and long, with coffee, cocoa and red cherry aromas and flavours. Good with stews, or break your Port habit and try with Stilton.
Price £30 Mumbles Fine Wines
Drink 2014–2018
Alc 15%

Santa Margherita, Impronta del Fondatore Malbech, Veneto 2011
16.5/20pts (88/100pts)
A rare Italian Malbec, so this wins on novelty factor alone. Perhaps more Cahors-like than Argentina, with coffee, cocoa and tarry notes.
Price £12 Exel Wines
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 14.5%

Castello Monaci, Liante Salice Salentino, Puglia 2010
16.25/20pts (87/100pts)
Bright red fruits with black cherry, tar and flinty nuances on the juciy finish. Perfect with anything barbecued.
Price £10–£12 Customary Wines, Just Fine Wines
Drink 2014–2020
Alc 13.5%

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