Ten of the best Italian vineyards & terroirs

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Ian D’Agata selects his star vineyard sites across Italy, and we include wine recommendations from Decanter's expert tasters.

Graciano Merotto vineyards in Prosecco DOCG Credit: Patrick Caseley
Graciano Merotto vineyards in Prosecco DOCG Credit: Patrick Caseley

Originally published in the May 2016 issue of Decanter magazine and now available for the first time online, only for Premium subscribers...

For the most part Italy is nirvana for wine terroiristes; the country has always been associated with myriad specific terroirs linked to unique wines.

In ancient Roman times, many wines were distinguished by their place of growth on a slope or hill: hence, Gauranum (top), Faustianum (middle) and Falernum (foot).

Importance of site has continued into modern times: in Friuli, the best Picolit wines have always been associated with four specific places, not the whole region (as the hapless modern DOCG would have you believe).In Campania, the best Fiano wines are also made in four finite areas, and of course it’s not by chance that Panzano, in Chianti Classico, is nicknamed the ‘golden amphitheatre’.

Even in Barolo and Barbaresco, where single-vineyard designations became commonplace only in the 1980s, négociants always looked to buy grapes from the same specific vineyards in practically every vintage.

I based the following list of Italy’s best vineyards and terroirs on historical fame and the all-important interaction between grape variety, geology and microclimate in expressing truly unique wines impossible to make anywhere else – wines that speak clearly of a specific place.

Translated by ICY

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