Italian wines: the 2021 "4 Viti"
These are the wines awarded the highest score by the Italian Sommelier Association
Italy has a solid tradition when it comes to sommeliers. The Italian Sommelier Association was founded in 1965 and was one of the first organisations in the world to give form and a rule book to the art of tasting, serving and describing wine. Over the same years the association created teaching programs and tasting sheets for the training of new sommeliers, and this platform is now recognised as one of the most effective at international level, so much so that, in Italy, graduates from the association's courses receive a formal, legally recognised certificate of professional qualification.
Vitae is the title not only of an in-depth magazine, but also of the Italian wine guide published by the Italian Sommelier Association since 2015. Together with Gambero Rosso, Espresso and Slow Wine, it is considered one of the most authoritative guides to Italian wine. It expresses its judgements on a scale of one to four stylised vines and reports on the tasting of around 30,000 wines each year. The tastings, which are carried out blind, are carried out by the association's own sommeliers, who are qualified to taste professionally. One wine from each region is awarded a special symbolic tastevin each year, in addition to the "4 Viti" as an award for the best regional product.
The lion’s share went to Piedmont and... a few drops went to Lombardy! Thanks to the exceptional 2016 vintage, Nebbiolo stands out in the ranking and took almost all the important positions. Both the Langhe and upper Piedmont showed excellent performances that are destined to last. Lombardy’s contribution is with the best Franciacorta wines and a few reds from Valtellina and the Bergamo valleys that are a must in the cellar of a true wine lover. In Emilia, keep an eye out for Lambrusco: at least two will drive you crazy with their excellent value for money!
Top scores went to some splendid versions of Amarone, Soave and Prosecco Superiore, which consolidate the leading role of Veneto. The big names, with the classic international whites at the forefront, go to Alto Adige. There was also an explosion in Friuli, which brought home a large number of 4 Viti wines with its Collio and Isonzo Valley whites. Space was also given to orange wines in the region that is their cradle.
Tuscany but... not only! Obviously in the lead is the excellent Brunello 2015, but there are also marvellous results for the other areas, from Bolgheri to Chianti Classico, from Morellino to the numerous Super Tuscans scattered throughout the region, despite the less than favourable recent vintages. Great news from the Marche region, where Verdicchio is confirmed as the most appreciated and convincing white grape in Central Italy. Reds from Lazio are also growing and it is time to get acquanited.
The South and the Islands
In the South, all the big names in quality wine-growing are in the list as expected, from the best Montepulciano from Abruzzo to the most popular white wines from Campania: Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino. In Apulia and Salento, the rounder and more enveloping Primitivos stand out along with the qualitatively more significant rosé. Sicily, in addition to the award-winning Etna, brings home great satisfaction with a Marsala that has now been totally re-evaluated and, of course, with the Passito di Pantelleria.