The wines of Italy are among the finest on the planet. When I first joined the wine and spirit business I was always raving about the big, bold dominating flavours…an Australian Barossa Valley Shiraz, the massive Napa Zinfandels and, of course, the heavily peated Islay single malt whiskies.

As the years have passed, I still have a love for all these wines and whiskies but I have more recently been finding subtlety, refinement, elegance and excellence in the bottles that I now seek. Just looking over the bottles I have in my everyday wine rack, my hidden wine rack and my secret wine rack…please don’t tell my wife about the last one! I have spotted one country that has started to take over all the spaces…Italy. Italy is numbero uno in the world’s wine production. It is home to some of the most famous wines on the planet but it also home to so many more hidden gems. From North to South, East to West. Italy has so much to offer.

To start your wanderlust into the unknown, why not try the Lambrusco Pruno Nero (Waitrose £10.99). Forget everything you think you know about Lambrusco and take a chance on this sparkling red. It tastes like a slightly alcoholic dark berry fruit soda stream mix. Think lively fruit with just a touch of sweetness.

Or, try a bottle of the Gavi La Battistina (Drinkmonker, £11.50) It hails from the Piedmont region, just south of Turin. This is 100% Cortese, and is subtle on the nose with notes of stone fruits and a dry minerality on the palate. Pair this with deep fried calamari for a small piece of heaven.

Now, everyone loves a Chianti, with the Sangiovese grape predominating the region. If you head further north, you can find the Frescobaldi Pomino Pinot Nero (Inverarity One to One, £28.99). It’s made from the only Pinot Noir vineyard in the region and this wine is pure cherry, chocolate, thyme and a gentle note of Bertie Allsorts (liquorice…it’s liquorice ).