Some of Italy’s best wines remain firmly under the radar for wine lovers. Richard Baudains explores why, and shines a light on names that deserve more recognition...
What exactly makes a wine ‘iconic’ is tricky to pin down, because the epithet does not denote any intrinsic quality but rather a status that may be acquired for a variety of reasons. Greatness clearly has something to do with it, but it is not exactly the same thing.
For example, there are many great Barolos but few truly iconic ones, which suggests that being unique, special and different in some way plays a part in being iconic.
At the same time, in the literal meaning of the word, iconic wines are a representation; the quintessential expression of something, which may be a terroir, or a grape variety, a person, a tradition or even a winemaking philosophy.
Sassicaia is an icon of style and elegance, the charismatic Angelo Gaja an iconic producer, Quintarelli’s Amarone an icon of a unique tradition.
12 lesser-known icon wines of Italy: