Given a completely open choice then many sommeliers and wine buyers could quite happily fill their wine lists with interesting and different wines from across all the regions of Italy. But rarely can they do so. At least the Il Collectivo tasting next week gives them the chance to disappear to Italy for a few hours with this specialist tasting hosted by five independent importers. Here we talk to the producers that Sommelier’s Choice and Flint Wines will have at the event.
Il Collettivo is only in its second year, but it already feels like an established event such is the interest in fresh, dynamic wine tastings that guarantee seeing new and focused wines. Which is all down to the ranges of the importers involved: Swig, FortyFive10°, Astrum Wine Cellars and Sommelier’s Choice and Flint Wines, whose Italian producers we feature here.
It might sound strange for a wine producer to welcome a bit of competition, but it is the fact the Il Collectivo tasting is such a group event, a collaboration in the truest sense of the word that makes it such an appealing tasting to be part of, says Norbert Reinisch, export manager of Piedmont winery, Giacomo Bologna Braida, who will be showing his wines through Sommelier’s Choice.
“It is more attractive to show wines in a group from different areas in one place at the same time. That’s what Il Collettivo is all about. It allows us to meet people who are interested in our wines directly.
That said when it comes to showing its own wines then it is very much about demonstrating how its “terroir and philosophy” is very different thanks to the indigenous varieties it uses in its wines.
“If sommeliers and buyers are looking for new vintages then please come and talk to us about our the wine philosophy of Braida,” he adds.
The UK is still very much a key market for premium Italian producers. “I see the UK as a window market, where we can really show our best wines and what Italy can do. As a result we are seeing more interesting Italian wines in the UK market over the last few years,” he explains.
Particularly for mid-market to premium wines and the relevant price points.
Anyone interested in tasting and discovering new Soave wines then should talk to Antonio Fattori, winemaker for the family’s Fattori Wines in Verona (Sommelier’s Choice). For him Il Collettivo is all about showing “alternative wines” and a tasting “for people looking to evaluate the wine and not just the label”. “It’s an occasion to taste different, original and indigenous wines.”
A tasting he believes that is much more focused on the individual needs of the buyers attending, rather than a main generic event that is trying to appeal to all.
One wine in particular he thinks is ideal for those “highly educated in wine” is Fattori’s Durello Classic Method sparkling wines including its Roncȧ wines that are aged for 36 and 60 months .
He agrees with Reinisch that the UK market continues to grow and improve its Italian wine offer. So much so that he now believes that outside Italy it has the best quality wines in the market. “It’s like no other market in the world.”
Particularly for those looking to buy wines for between £10 to £20, where the value, quality and affordability are second to none.
Viola Gorelli of Brunello specialists, Le Potazzine (Flint Wines) in Montalcino has a rather surprising reason for attending Il Collectivo. “We are not taking part to sell more wine,” she says, as its tiny production is already accounted for on allocation.
“Instead it is really important for us to meet our importer’s clients and to explain face-to-face our philosophy and winemaking approach.”
She adds: “Being involved in a tasting organised by our importer is important for us to show our support. Being a small producer, we don’t normally participate in generic tastings, but Il Collettivo is a must-attend event for us.”
UK focused wines
She says their style of wine are particularly suited to a market like the UK where there is such a genuine interest in “wines with a specific terroir and unique expressions”. “We believe that, especially in the UK where a lot of great French wines are imported, it is also very important to allow people to discover the excellence there is in Italian wine.”
Particularly in a region as acclaimed as Brunello. “Brunello is one of the greatest Italian wine appellations,” she says. “We take great pride in crafting wines with the utmost care to obtain a superior quality by reflecting typicality and in the respect of the environment with sustainable winegrowing practices.”
The UK is its second biggest wine market for its wines, says Gorelli. “We are really proud to import our wines in the UK. Not only because we value our relationships with our importer, but also because we want to be part of this major wine market made of people who love and appreciate wines and have such an extended knowledge. We want our wines to be visible on the market and the people who drink them to be well-informed.”
Elena Fucci of the Elena Fucci winery (Flint Wines) in northern Basilicata says it is always important to make the effort to “get to know our customers in the UK, to promote our wine and get people to visit our winery and region”.
Particularly as the “UK has the largest proportion of Masters of Wine, and has a very developed fine wine market,” he adds.
She hopes buyers will take the time to discover more about its Aglianico del Vulture, “which is an important and true expression of our land, and demonstrates a high quality/price ratio”.
Again it is the fact Il Collettivo is a combined effort of leading importers that makes it more effective. “I think the reputation of the participating importers brings a lot of attention to the event,” she adds.
Which is particularly important as the UK continues to grow as a key market for her wines, particularly for its €20 and less wines.
Focus on Barolo
Anyone looking to taste high quality Barolo should spend some time with Elvio Cogno (Flint Wines) who believes his styles of wine are particularly suited to the UK on-trade as they match quality with good value for money.
“Il Collettivo is a further interesting opportunity to show our wines at a professional event in UK. The English market is undoubtedly very important for our winery, and it is followed by the other international markets we work in,” he says. “The British market cares a lot about premium wines which are produced in unique areas such as the Langhe district, especially in Barolo area.”
As to why buyers should spend the time to taste his wines, he adds: “Our winery is focused on expressing the complexity of the Ravera cru and yet the distinctive character and elegance of the Nebbiolo grapes. This area has always been considered the best of its surrounding territories, and gives Elvio Cogno’s wines their uniqueness that, over time, has become a mark of distinction. All of our Nebbiolo vineyards for producing Barolo are located in the Ravera cru: including Barolo Ravera, Barolo Ravera Bricco Pernice and Barolo Ravera Riserva Vigna Elena. Our Barolo wines strive to be the expression of a unique terroir.”
Il Colllettivo is an ideal tasting for his winery as it brings together “a very interesting target of customers, journalists, and selected collectors who are exclusively focused on premium wines”.
“The UK can’t be considered an easy market, but all the wine experts look at it and it is still highly regarded by all the most important wine markets around the world.”
- To read more about the Il Collettivo tasting and to register to attend go its dedicated website here.