Of the many wine producing regions of Italy, we concentrate principally on two - Tuscany and Piedmont - where arguably the finest wines are made. Tuscany is the home of Sangiovese - which finds its greatest expression in the wines of Montalcino - while Piedmont is the home of Nebbiolo - the grape variety of Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, we have wines from Friuli in the far northeast, close to the border with Slovenia, from the Veneto (particularly famous for the sparkling wines made from Prosecco) and from Umbria, where quality can be very fine, while price remains remarkably reasonable.

Wine production in Italy has undergone an extraordinarily rapid period of change over the last 20 to 30 years. Gone is the obsession, born at least in part from the impoverishment of the post-War years, for producing the maximum possible volume from the vineyards, which resulted in the production of vast quantities of dilute, under-ripe and poorly made wines. The generation of the increasingly affluent decades of the 1970s and 1980s, which has now taken control of family vineyards, has very different ideas. The transparency of the global market, and the competition for the attention of wine drinkers has brought in its wake the realisation that wine, however cheap, will not sell if the quality is not there. Now we have a generation of Italian producers making wines of the highest quality at all levels of price.

Pio Cesare

To make life confusing, the founding family of this fabulous Piedmontese producer has used the names Pio and Cesare in varying orders with each passing generation.  The winery was established in 1881 by Cesare Pio who was succeeded by his daughter Rosy Pio and her husband Giuseppe Boffa.  Their son Pio Boffa is now in charge of the operation, assisted by his nephew Cesare Benvenuto.  The family owns a little over 50 hectares of vines and in addition buys grapes from growers with many of whom agreements have been in place for several generations.  The winemaking is largely traditional, although a portion of a number of the cuvées is aged in small French barrels which sit alongside the traditional Italian ‘botte’.  The wines are outstanding.

Pio Cesare's Bricco vineyard


2010 Chardonnay Piodilei, Pio Cesare x 6
 6 Bottles
Wonderfully rounded single vineyard Chardonnay, entirely barrel fermented in 100% new French oak barrels, which then remains on the lees for a further 8 months post-fermentation. The Piodilei then undergoes a further year of maturation in bottle prior to release. Lots of generous tangerine and peach fruit, along with elderflower, a delicate hint of crushed almonds and a honeysuckle-floral note on the nose; then apples, limes and pears all follow on the palate. Lovely palate richness and complexity, with a lift of zesty citrus acidity and lovely length. This gorgeous Chardonnay has plenty of Italian style. 

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