Ask the expert: How to buy Italian wine

An award-winning winemaker tells us how

Considering buying something special to take home from your trip to Italy? John F Matta, IWSC Italian Winemaker of the year reveals how

Rule no. 1: don't be tempted by the price

Firstly, do not buy a 75cl bottle of wine costing less than €10. It's not possible for a bottle to cost less than this and still be produced with the minimum standards of quality.

Rule no. 2: count the letters

Opt for a DOC (Denominazione Di Origine Controllata), DOCG (Denominazione Di Origine Controllata E Garantita) or IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). 

These quality-assurance labels tells you where the grapes come from, the production methods used and, normally for the DOCs and DOCGs, it means the quality of the fruit is slightly higher.

Rule no. 3: try before you buy

Look for stores that have either organised wine tastings or have wine available by the glass. What better way to know if you like a wine before buying it than to taste it? Don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation - usually anyone working in the store will share your enthusiasm.

Rule no. 4: read the label

That's right - front and back. All bottles must show the producer, brand, alcohol content, net content and sulfite declaration. Many include helpful extras such as origin information, special colour or flavour designations and even food-pairing suggestions.

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