When thinking of Italian wine, Amarone, Barolo and Chianti may be what most readily springs to mind, but Richard Baudains reveals a treasure trove of original yet overlooked wines just waiting to be discovered. See his pick of 10 wines from the most exciting Italian terroirs here...
1. Carema DOC, Piedmont
Carema is a panda wine. Only two wineries make it, production is limited, properties fragmented (the 17 hectares managed by the admirable local co-op are shared between no fewer than 78 growers), and the demographical trends in the village of Carema are setting alarm bells ringing. Without a younger generation to take on the labour-intensive work in the spectacular terraced vineyards at the foot of the Alps, the risk of extinction is very real. Carema has the most extreme terroir of all the northern Nebbiolos and a fascinatingly subtle and complex character with its delicate red fruit, sweet floral aromas and tangy mineral intensity. If your model of Piedmont is mouthfilling modern Barolo, Carema imposes a change of register. Expect a lighter, drier, finer wine, with brisk acidity and more length than breadth – a dream wine for fans of racy, old-fashioned Nebbiolo.
Ferrando (white label) 2007
Sweet floral nose of redcurrants, bay and fern. Tangy intensity on the palate, fine tannins and huge length with the fruit and a salty mineral finish. 18.5pts/20
Price: £27 Astrum, WoodWinters
Cantina dei Produttori Nebbiolo di Carema, Classico 2007
Delicate but complex nose of red cherry, mint, aniseed and tea. Dry, intense palate with fine tannins and some oak still to integrate. Firm, grippy, mineral finish, bitter herbs and orange peel. 18pts/20
Price: £14.50 Astrum, WoodWinters
Written by Georgina Hindle