I love Italy
Back from Italy. We were only there a few days, but once again I've come away with a restless sort of feeling - I must explore Italy more deeply, and I must not be so neglectful of Italian wines.
I don't know why, but here in the UK there's a widespread ignorance and lack of interest in Italian wine. France gets the lion's share of coverage, but then countries such as Spain, Portugal and the 'new world' nations seem to be in front of Italy when it comes to the attention paid to their wines by the press and the serious wine drinking public.
Personally, I reckon Italy is full of interest, although - as with other wine countries - you've got to put a lot of hard work in finding the really great wines from among the dross. And I'd also say that many of the more expensive wines that hog the limelight aren't the real stars: there's a lot of spoofiness in Italy - the success of certain famous wine consultants making wines in a particular style is evidence of this.
So one of my missions over the next few months is to search for the 'real' Italy.
Pictured is the place Fiona and I were staying in: Poggio Alla Sala. Verdict? It would have scored 10/10 - it's a new, serious high-end hotel with impeccable service, luxurious high-ceilinged rooms, three swimming pools, a spa and a gorgeous hilltop location amid the vines of the Vino Nobile estate of the same name. The standard of finishing is stunning. However, it is still a work in progress, and while the main part of the resort is complete, there was some building work still going on. So, for this reason, we'd have to dock a point or two.