Vines map all four corners of Italy, and part of the allure of its regional culinary specialities is the abundance of fine wines to match them.
One of the world’s most recognisable styles and archetypal white wines, cool climate pinot grigio hails from the north-eastern part of the country.
At its best, pinot grigio shows light, crisp, delicate fruitflavours with a hint of spice on the fresh finish, and Fiorile Pinot Grigio, Cesari 2012, Italy (£7.45 from £8.70, when you buy six bottles, (www.tanners-wines.co.uk) is a delightful example from a respected producer.
The gargenega grape may not roll off the tongue, but it forms the basis for the Venetian white wine, Soave, and ‘suave Soaves’ from Verona are a far cry from the run-of-the-mill bottles we’ve grown accustomed to drinking in the local trattoria.
From award-winning winemaker Graziano Pra, try Soave Classico Staforte Pra 2010, Italy (£19.99, www.virginwines.co.uk) which is gently floral with intense flavours of ripe, sun-drenched stone fruits, with hints of hazelnuts on the soft finish – utterly delicious.
Heading south past the rolling hills and terraced vineyards of central Italy, white wines from the volcanic Campania region are considered some of the finest in the country.
Falanghia, fiano and greco are the three main varieties and wines such as Terredora Greco di Tufo, Terre degli Angeli 2011, Campania, Italy (£13.99, Waitrose) are full-bodied in style with a typical mineral character and rich palate of breezy citrus fruit and just the right amount of acidity.