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My top 20: food-friendly wines from around Italy

In a country where food and wine have long been two essential pillars of everyday life, the potential for standout pairings is endless. Andy Howard MW selects 20 of his favourite, top-value mealtime bottles, and suggests the best dishes to go with each

To prove the point that Italian wines are versatile and adaptable, I recall a business dinner a decade ago with Cliff Roberson, the colourful founder of Roberson Wines. Back then I was a supermarket buyer, and when invited out to dinner during the annual Vinitaly exhibition in Verona, I cheekily said I would only go if we could drink a wine which had a name ending in ‘-aia’. Unfazed by my request, Roberson took me to the most unassuming back-street pizzeria, where we duly consumed a bottle of Solaia 2004 with the cheapest margherita pizza. It was a memorable match, proving (to me, at least) that Solaia is the ultimate pizza wine.

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My top 20: food-friendly wines from around Italy