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Friday, 6 May 2022

The CWB Inexpensive Italian White-Off

Two enjoyable and widely-available Italian whites from Lidl and The Co-op - plus a superior indie

Italy's red wines and bubbles gain most of the headlines, but the country also makes a wide range of very food-friendly whites.

While Chardonnay may be your first thought for a "food-white", Burgundy often carries a price premium and you can find elegant, fresh savoury whites from Italy at lower price points.

Here are three sophisticated and enjoyable Italian whites that will match with many foods - two from just outside Rome and a Soave from Italy's north west.

Campogrande Orvieto Classico, (£9, The Co-op)

Orvieto in Umbria, just north of Rome, is situated inland at around 300m above sea level, meaning plentiful sunshine with cool nights to extend the growing season and maintain freshness.

The main white grapes in Orvieto are Grechetto and Trebbiano; the first is considered a blending grape, the latter something of a workhorse.

But, just as the boy-next-door can turn into a matinee idol with a scrub and brush-up, so under-appreciated varieties can become enjoyable, inexpensive quaffers in the right hands.

This wine is made by the Antinori family, purveyors of some of Italy's most famous (and expensive) wines.

delicate white flowers and orchard fruit; crisp and fresh with apples-and-pears, ripe white peach and a touch of honeysuckle richness; full, supple and saline.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Match with mixed starters, creamy mushroom pasta or risotto.

2018 Botte de Conti Pecorino Terre di Chieti, (£5.75, Lidl) 

Pecorino is the grape here (not to be confused with the cheese of the same name) and Terre di Chieti is the region; it is in Abruzzo, just outside Rome.

citrus, apple, stone fruits and tropical fruit with some green herbs, minerality and a touch of spice. Very adept and well-made. Improves with some aeration.

Very pleasant and Very Good Value.

Drink as an aperitif in the garden or match with with seafood, soft cheeses, white fish or plain roast pork.

It also gets a recommendation from Helen McGinn on Saturday Kitchen as a match for carbonara.

Soave Gregoris, Antonio Fattori, Italy 2018 (£10.75, Private Cellar)

Costing only a few pounds more, but selected by Private Cellar's MW buyer, this is just a little bit better in every way.

Melon, lime and white stone fruits with orchard fruits, honeysuckle and pebbly minerality. Textured, elegant and precise.


Improves with aeration and will repay some cellaring.

A versatile food wine, drink as an aperitif, with light starters, creamy risottos or lean white met such as chicken or fish. It is also available in magnums for those "we're gonna need a bigger bottle" occasions.

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