One of the beauties about long standing wine producing countries such as Italy is the variety of indigenous grapes which are often rare outside the country or even outside their home region.
Here are a couple from retailer Lidl which hail from (almost) opposite ends of the country:
Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2014 (13.5%, €8.99)
Falanghina is an ancient grape originating from Campania, the area around Naples (sometimes thought of as the “shin” of Italy’s boot.) The most favoured terrain is that of Del Sannio which is close to the coast just north of Naples.
The grape had almost disappeared until it was championed by producer Mastroberardino, and as a clean unoaked white it is right in fashion.
This example was well balanced – smooth but with acidity, medium bodied with some texture, fruity up front but with a very dry finish. It’s a very versatile wine that would be great with seafood or a fine aperitif. Perhaps not as long a finish as you’d like, but a great bargain at the price.
Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2015 (13.5%, €7.99)
Barbera is often thought of as the country cousin of Nebbiolo, the famously tricky grape that goes into Barolo and Barbaresco. In Nizza it can be amazing, but around Piedmont it can also be a very pleasant, approachable wine which is perfect for a midweek tipple.
This Barbera (can I call her Babs?) is lovely and smooth, with enough acidity to keep it interesting and refreshing.
Cherries are the fruit of the day – fresh black and red cherries that it, not tinned or glacé (as much as I love the latter).
Perhaps this could be your stepping stone into the rewarding world of Barbera?