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Italian wines to the fore- particularly Piemonte

Despite the weaker £ versus the €, recent figures released by the UK government show that imports of Italian wines in 2008/2009 increased by 28% and captured 17.4% of the market to move closer to the top spot held by Australia (20.7%). In value terms Italy already holds the number one slot. The biggest increases were in everyday reds and rosés (+87%) and sparklers (+79%) while at the top end Piemonte continues to consolidate its leading position in Italy.

The recently published Vini d’Italia 2010 (Gambero Rosso) describes Piedmont as “the locomotive region that drives Italian wine” with the award of 84 of its top Three Glasses awards. Tuscany also saw an increase of 11 top awards to 60, its second best showing ever. Nebbiolo still remains the aristocrat with 65 winners either on its own or in blends. The whites are somewhat overshadowed but 3 Gavis and 2 Timorassos led the way.

Renowned Piemonte producer Angelo Gaja in a recent Decanter interview is quoted as saying that Italy’s next big success will be with its whites. While finding Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio somewhat boring he points out there are over 1,500 grape varieties grown in Italy and that no other country has that richness. The potential is huge.

We were particular pleased to see one of our close neighbours gain his first Three Glass award: Fabrizio Ressia for his Barbaresco Canova ’06. At our last tasting there we were also mightily impressed with his unusual dry moscato Evien and Evien Oro that both achieved Two Glasses. Only 30,000 bottles a year but his commitment and passion will ensure a great future. Well done Fabrizio.