Your Window to Italy’s 2,000-year-old Wine Culture

All the Italian wines worth drinking are contained in the pages of a new book by aficionado Daniele Cernilli.

The title to Daniele Cernilli’s new book, The Ultimate Guide to Wine 2017, isn’t an overstatement.

The famed wine connoisseur partnered with scores of experts to compose a book that offers readers a broad knowledge of Italy’s sprawling and deeply rooted wine culture that dates back roughly 2,000 years.

Recently, wine critic Paul Hodgins, of the Orange County Register, joined Cernilli on a wine tour through the Italian countryside.

Here were some of their favorite selections:

Torre Rosazza Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2016: A flavorful, well structured and lively pinot grigio. Floral and apple scents on the nose, with strong flavors of pear and peach in the mid-palate. It’s from the Torre Rosazza winery, which lies in the heart of the Colli Friuli Orientali DOC, the easternmost appellation in Italy, which has been producing wine since ancient times. “This is one of the very best pinot grigios we make in Italy,” Cernilli said.


Feudo Maccari Saia Sicilia DOC 2014: From the southeastern part of Siciliy, near the city of Syracuse, this violet-colored Nero d’Avola produced by the Moretti Cuseri family is intense and complex, with a touch of caper and balsamic, big fruit and light tannins highlighting a long, elegant finish. Cherry, spices, licorice and other tantalizing flavors persist. It’s assertive but not overpowering. “Antonio Maccari does not bother with cost,” Cernilli said. “He’s after quality.”


Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2012: 90 percent sangiovese and 10 percent merlot. It’s beautifully balanced and refined; muscular yet drinkable, with prominent strains of black cherry and vanilla with hints of blueberry and currant, plus a touch of eucalyptus. From a high-altitude vineyard in Montepulciano that the winemaker says is shaped like a donkey (hence the “asinone” name).In his book Cernilli has awarded this winery three stars, his highest designation: “Poliziano wines … have strong personality and represent their territory.”

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