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...
Unchartered Italy: Timorasso DOC, Piedmont
5. Timorasso DOC, Piedmont
Timorasso is a grape that ought to have a wider audience. It has everything going for it: opulent aromas, full body and great acidity. It can do oaked and unoaked styles with equal aplomb and it is capable of developing impressive complexity with age. Two things possibly holding it back are scarcity and unfamiliarity. On the subject of the latter, its cause is not helped by a degree of confusion over the name. Timorasso may be bottled under the Colli Tortonesi DOC, with or without an indication of the grape. Derthona, the name of a proposed new DOC for Timorasso which hopefully will come into force next year, is also used by some producers, either alongside the existing DOC or in one case for a table wine. However it is labelled, Timorasso, which was virtually wiped out by phylloxera at the start of the last century and only retrieved from obscurity in the past 15 years, is by far the most characterful of Piedmont’s native white varieties, knocking spots off the lean and one dimensional Cortese and the soft and simple Arneis.
Claudio Mariotto, Pitasso, Derthona, Colli Tortonesi 2009
Peach, pineapple and lime aromas, with a light, toasty oak background. Intense palate, beautifully bone dry, concentrated and juicy with citrus and minerals in the long, mouthwatering finish. 18pts/20
Price: £15.40 Christopher Keiller
Vigneti Massa, Derthona 2009
Slightly closed nose, with a touch of acacia, camomile and white peach. Precise, crisp, mouthwatering palate; long, intense finish with green apple hints and great mineral concentration. 18pts/20
Price: £17.49 Theatre of Wine
Other recommended producers:
Franco Martinetti, La Colombera, Mutti, Pomodolce