The past two years have changed many things. One of them is that wine awards have become more important than ever. With more and more customers buying wine online, impartial information about a wine’s quality is increasingly important. The beauty of wine awards is that, at a glance, they show which wines are the best.
Most leading merchants offer wines from France, Italy, Spain and the New World, and source a few medal-winners from each country. Others choose to be experts in one particular country. For example, Independent Wine is laser-focussed on Italy. Its online store features 51 Decanter medal-winning Italian vintages – a collection which it believes is the largest in the UK.
Due to an obsession with Italian wine, Independent Wine is able to find fantastic wines and producers which were previously unavailable in the UK.
One example is Fabrizio Francone (pictured above). His small winery is located in the heart of Barbaresco in Neive. Although not well-known outside of Piemonte, his Barbaresco wine from the Gallina MGA won the Decanter Gold medal in 2019, and Silver in 2020. His other Barbaresco wine, from the Fausoni MGA won Decanter Silver medals in 2020, while his Barbaresco Riserva took home Silver in 2021.
Another award-winner debuted by Independent Wine is Lagrein Riserva by K Martini & Sohn. This small winery is in Girlan, at the north end of Alto Adige’s famous weinstrasse. In 2020, this exceptional wine won the ‘Decanter Best in Show’ title. In 2021, it continued its winning streak and received the Silver Medal.
So, although many think Italy is a known entity, Italian specialists like Independent Wine prove that there are still small wineries, exceptional bottles and plenty of hidden gems still to be unearthed.