At Noble Grape we pride ourselves on tracking down the best that Italy has to offer, whether from lesser known regions or grape varieties that have yet to become household names, or from unsung producers who year on year just keep on making authentic and wonderful wines from this vast country of vines. We have many great additions to the list that we want to sing from the rooftops: the Chianti Monte Guelfo is one of our stars and is rapidly becoming one of our best selling wines. The Pecorino and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Contesa make a welcome return this month and our old classics from Sicily, the brace of wines from Palazzo del Mare, are unbeatable at this price.
Tuscany is Italy’s 4th largest region for vineyards, but its 6th largest producer for wines showing that here there is a mission for quality over quantity. You still have to choose very carefully, but there is a great amount of very fine wine produced here. Sangiovese is the dominant black variety, but this is the homeland of innovation, with many producers looking to international varieties of Cabernet and Merlot and the like to broaden their appeal in the international market. At least that was the story from the 1960s through to the late nineties: now there is much more interest in authentic styles with Sangiovese at long last receiving the attention that it deserves. This variety reaches its summit with the wines of Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico.
We continue to champion the wines of Famiglia Cecchi. This shrewd family of winemakers date their origins in Castellina in Chianti back to 1893 and have amassed an estate which includes two wineries in Chianti, Villa Rosa and Villa Cerna, plus an estate in Maremma on the Tuscan coast, Val delle Rose and finally their 28 hectares of vineyards in San Gimignano from Castello Montaùto.
Italy is gaining reputation for its whites and at Noble Grape we cherish those that are made from native grape varieties of which there are hundreds to choose from. New to our range is the Pinot Bianco from Nals Margreid, one of Alto Adige’s great wineries and a specialist in this variety.
Here we have a selection of geographically diverse reds, some from the north, a few from the centre and a splash from the Islands. We are pleased to introduce the two reds from Tenuta Alzatura from Umbria using Sangiovese, Sagrantino & Merlot for the Montefalco Rosso and pure Sagrantino for the Montefalco Sagrantino the region’s signature wine, and one of Italy’s most powerful. Nebbiolo is our great passion at Noble Grape, and here we have a few examples of how wonderful and complex this variety can be. One of the greatest reds we have tasted this year is the Gattinara from Nervi Conterno: an estate in Alto Piemonte which has been purchased by the legendary winemaker Roberto Conterno, the producer of a candidate for Italy’s greatest red, Barolo Monfortino. Elsewhere, we have found a Freisa which suits our wallets, but has the hallmark fragrance, crispness and the dark bitter flavours that we love from this variety.