Five Emerging and Exciting Wine Zones

1. The Manduria zone is located on Puglia’s Salento Peninsula, the actual “heel” of the Italian boot. This long, narrow, wind-swept area lying between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas offers ideal conditions for grape growing. The constant hot winds help maintain healthy vineyards by preventing the development of mould, and the extreme variation between day and night-time temperatures allows the grapes to ripen more slowly, thus achieving fuller development of aromas and flavours. Primitivo di Manduria is a firmly-structured masterpiece of spicy blackberry fruit flavour. Top Producers: Pervini, Vallone, Leone de Castris, Le Mea, Felline, and Rivera

2. The beautiful Franciacorta zone is located between the city of Brescia and Lake Iseo in central Lombardy, and some of its best vineyards lie on Alpine foothills. The zone is famous for the production of crisp, elegant sparkling wines from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero. This wine has broad floral perfumes, with delicately fruity notes of ripe, soft-fleshed pears, hazelnuts and yeast (often identified as toast or breadcrumbs). On the palate, Franciacorta tend to be soft and inviting, with a well-defined breadth of flavour. The standard bearer of the zone is Satèn (the local name for the Crémant style), whose creamy texture and delicate perlage provide a seductive delight. Top Producers: Bellavista, Fratelli Berlucchi, Ca’ del Bosco, Contadi Castaldi, La Montina, Villa, Barone Pizzini, Cavalleri, Conti Bettoni Cazzago, Conti Terzi, Lo Sparviere, Castelfaglia, Monterossa, Ricci Curbastro and Majolini

3.The vineyards of the Colli Orientali del Friuli zone lie on cool foothills east of the Friulian town of Udine, bordering with Slovenia. The zone excels in the production of zippy, finely structured whites from indigenous varieties (such as Tocai Friulano and Traminer Aromatico) and tightly-knit dry reds (from such grapes as Pignolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Refosco and Schioppettino). It is also the home of the delicious and rare dessert wine, Picolit. Top producers in the zone include: Abbazia di Rosazzo, Ermacora, Collavini, Dal Fari, Ronco delle Betulle, Giorgio Colutta, Conte d’Attimis Maniago, Walter Filiputti, Cantarutti Alfieri and Livio Felluga

4. The Morellino di Scansano zone is a windswept collection of hills in the Tuscan province of Grosseto, between the Ombrone and Albegna rivers. It is a relatively short drive from the Brunello di Montalcino area. Here wines are made from the Morellino grape variety, which is the local name for Sangiovese. Morellino di Scansano is a dry red wine, which is firmly-structured and has enticing cherry-tinged fruit. Top Producers: Morisfarms, Le Pupille, Fattoria Mantellassi, Poliziano, Villa Patrizia, Cantina Cooperativa Marellino di Scansano, Barncini and Poggio Argentiera

5. The Montefalco Sagrantino zone is limited to well-exposed hillsides surrounding the picturesque medieval walled town of Montefalco in Umbria. During the 12th century the town was strictly a religious community, with wine playing an important role in its rites and ceremonies. Tending vineyards and working in the cellars were important duties for the monks and nuns assigned to the local orders. Even the name of the primary grape variety, Sagrantino, most likely stems from the words sagrestia or sacrestia, which meansvestry. Montefalco Sagrantino is dark ruby in colour. It is full-bodied, with a rich, silky, spicy perfume reminiscent of blackberries. On the palate, it has a slight roughness, which I often find in indigenous varieties. This quality only adds to the wine’s charm. Top Producers are Arnaldo Caprai, Adanti, Antonelli San Marco, Bea, Brogal Vini, Colpetrone, Casale Triocco – Spoletoducale, Morettoni, Napolini, Rocca di Fabbri, Ruggeri, and Cantina Terre de’ Trinci