When in Rome do as the Romans do although the quote is a bit of a stretch as I’m scribbling notes for this week's column over dinner in an Italian Restaurant. Yes, I know that's incredibly sad but do you see how I suffer for my art? I’m naturally a red type of chap but with a keen and tall sommelier hovering over me, it only seems right to give the Pinot Grigio and Soave a go. Yes yes, I know there are literally hundreds of different whites in Italy but I’ve only got one shot at this over a splendid dinner of grilled sardines, and you know how tiny those wee critters are. Soave is often overlooked in the UK but when the sun comes out, so does the creaminess of those whites making them a great match for any salad. Pinot Grigio’s on the other hand are fabulous aperitif wines at any time of the year, but if you partner them with grilled sardines and a little aged balsamic, the flavours just dance across your tongue. There one trick ponies though, so if you partner them with anything more powerful than shellfish, they just wither under the pressure.

When it comes to red however, Italian wines really come into their own with more cinderella's than ugly sisters. Italian food is dominated by pasta, tomatoes and olive oil but its the middle ingredient that causes the problems with most wines. Tomatoes and to a lesser extent, garlic and peppers are passion killers when it comes to red wines but thankfully, the Italian winemakers have a trick up their sleeve. They retain a dollop of refreshing acidity in their reds which seems to envelop the food in a velvet blanket of forgiveness. It’s difficult to pick favourites from Italy because they produce so many different styles but there are two that I always end up going back to and neither of them is Chianti! Sangiovese has to be one of my favourite grape varieties and dare I say it while writing about Italian wines, but the Aussies are creating some wonderfully sexy versions which are long on fruit, high on acidity and almost equally high on alcohol.

I know my other favourite isn't for everyone but Amarone really does rock. Yeah, the’re heavy and highly alcoholic but I've never had a bad one yet. Amarones tend to be rich and full on while retaining a soft, almost sweet enticing palate that makes them great with most red meat pasta dishes as well as being the ideal partner for pan fried sirloin or a nice grilled rib eye.

Anyway, my sommelier friend is winking at me which could mean one of two things tonight; either he wants to talk more about Brexit or he has yet another less than splendid house wine to brutalise my palate with.

La Tunella Pinot Grigio

Really full on for a Pinot Grigio with a flowery nose leading into a palate chock full of tropical fruit and brioche.

Corney & Barrow £12.95

Le Volte dell’ Ornellaia

An unusual but cracking blend of Bordeaux varietals with local Sangiovese creating a stunning jammy wine with soft creamy tannins and hints of oak on the finish.

Majestic £21.59