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Harpers Wine Stars Awards 2021: Italy

Published:  10 June, 2021

Highlighting the people and places wowing the judges in the Harpers Wine Stars Awards.

Talking Italian

The incredible diversity of Italy and its much-praised wealth of indigenous varieties within that scope was the standout for our 2021 Wine Stars Awards judges. What was also clear from this year’s event was that the higher star ratings were spread throughout the country, with the south showing as strongly as its northern rivals.

From top wines such as Cafaggio Basilica Solatio Chianti Classico Riserva and Ferro 13’s Hacker from Tuscany; or fresh fizz in the form of Veneto’s The Boss Prosecco DOC Millesimato Extra Dry; to southern highlights including our Puglian- produced Star of Italy Casa Marrone Appassimento 2019 and Sicilian winner Ferro 13 Nerd 2019, Italy is clearly delivering quality and interest from the length of The Boot.

That quality was high across the various flights, with some good value to be found, including from bigger-name regions such as Tuscany and in wines like the Star of Veneto, Villa Annaberta Amarone della Valpolicella 2017.

One negative for the judges was that many labels were decreed as somewhat behind the times. Exceptions were the Ferro 13 wines, such as the colourful Nerd and eye-catching The Boss Prosecco, which showed what forward- thinking producers are doing, setting the bar higher for others looking to make their mark in international markets.

Judged on juice alone, Italy mainly shone, with judges saying the country still provides a fertile hunting ground for individual and good value wines that deliver bags of character on indie or on-trade lists.

NB: For more information on Harpers Wine Stars 2022 and to enter your wines, please click here

The Stars behind the stars: Marco Flacco, winemaker, Casa Marrone

Veneto-based producer Casa Marrone Appassimento 2019 stole the show with Star of Italy at this year’s Wine Stars Awards. We asked Marco Flacco how he made an offer our judges couldn’t refuse.

What is your winemaking philosophy?

For us, the transformation of grapes into must and of must into wine is a process that requires great care in preserving the high quality achieved through the work done in the vineyard, of which we want to keep all the characteristics intact from the vineyard to the glass.

How does this fit with what nature has given you to work with at Casa Marrone?

The concept of ‘home’ – ‘casa’ in Italian – reflects our love and the bond we have with our land, which represents a priceless heritage for us.

What is the secret to making great Appassimento?

The passion and commitment we put in, following the vineyards through all the phases, leading up to an optimal healthiness and maturation of the grapes. These are then processed with care and respecting the necessary time to obtain a high quality result.

You produce wines in both Veneto and Puglia – does your approach differ?

From north to south the climatic conditions, soils, vines and the environment in which the grapes grow change, but the approach and attention to the entire production and vinification process, does not change. The aim is to bring out the main characteristics of each grape variety.

How important is sustainability?

Ensuring sustainability along the production chain is essential for the subsistence of our partners in the vineyard and for maintaining the winemaking tradition that makes our country unique. Casa Marrone only produces organic wines.

Long term, is there a goal or achievement that you have your sights on?

Trying to guarantee a constant long-term quality with the awareness that wine is a living product subject to the rhythms of nature. Each vintage differs from the previous one, our aim is to make the most of the peculiarities of the year by giving the right continuity to the product.