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Think of Italian wine and one always thinks of Italian food - a juicy steak and Chianti Rufina; Frascati and a seafood risotto; ossobucco and Barolo. So important is this match that the Italians have a word dedicated to meaning the marriage of wine and food, 'l'abbinamento'
Italy has a rich past of wine making and references to the ancient Romans taking the vine all over Europe litter the vinous history books - even planting vast vineyards not far from Ottery St Mary.
Today, Italy is the second biggest producer in the world but to say that it is fragmented is an understatement as the average vineyard holding now stands at around two acres. For too long this meant that wines were being produced in small quantities by antiquated methods using archaic machinery, the results of which could be dire. But there is now another side of the industry which is thankfully growing, with modern cooperatives and private estates alike attracting good viticulturists and oenologists, a lot of whom have been trained abroad.