The super (value) Italian. Barolos and the super Tuscans come with a hefty price tag, but Italy – with more than 300 grape varieties planted in the vineyards – is not known as enotria tellus, or the land of wine, for nothing.
Wine lovers are betting that Italian wines will be the next hot favourite, thanks to its diversity and generally friendly price tags. Robert Parker, the world’s most influential wine critic, weighs in on the topic when he was in Singapore for the wine event organised by American Express International. He says: “Look to wines the locals drink every day, such as barbera and dolcetto d’Alba, for great value.”
“The great barolo vintages of 1958 and 1964 are my favourites. Decant the wines before serving. The colour will look weak initially, but it gains intensity with exposure to air. The late winemaker Aldo Conterno once said that I understood the two camps of winemaking styles – oaked versus un-oaked – as I believed great wines could come from both. The question is not choosing between the two schools of winemaking, but finding a winemaker that can find a balance (within the style).”
“In my 35 years of observing the wine trade, it seems great wines grow in price as more people gain wealth. And, since the 2008 recession, there has been a constant, exponential rise in the prices of Italian wines.
“That said, the overpricing of the 2009 and 2010 bordeaux vintages led collectors to finally say ‘no’, resulting in a dip in demand and prices. However, bordeaux chateaux produce 5,000 to 10,000 cases annually, while barolo wineries craft only 250 bottles to 1,000 cases per year. They are rare wines, and prices are likely to go up. Yet, ultimately, what will happen depends on market forces.”