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Financial Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

According to JANCIS ROBINSON MW, Italy is struggling, with falling sales in each of its main export markets, and with life particularly tough in the 'traditional centres of red-wine quality, Tuscany and Piedmont'. The problem is not the wines themselves so much as communication about them - 'Italians are not good at explaining things to outsiders. It seems to be viewed as a weakness rather than a sales aid to embellish a bottle with a back label' explaining what the 'eight proper names' on the front label refer to. Still, 'nowhere is more thrilling and enjoyable to visit', and there are plenty of 'distinctive and fairly priced' wines about, such as 2004 Casal dei Cavalieri, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Umani Ronchi (8.99; Waitrose) and 2003 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colle Morino (83.40 per dozen; John Armit).