Lunch with Paillard, Solaia and Biondi-Santi

Had a nice lunch in the garden with Robin and Nikolai. I brought Champagne, and they stepped things up a notch with two famous Italians.

Champagne Bruno Paillard Assemblage 2009 France
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, 20% barrel fermented. Aged seven years on lees, then 18 months in bottle (disgorged September 2017) before release. Dosage 5 g/litre. […]

Visiting Prosecco producer Canevel

This was my first time in Prosecco country. Prosecco is a phenomenon. It has come from almost nowhere to being one of the most visible of all sparkling wines (selling around 550 million bottles a year). Such has been its success that the Italian authorities even managed to change the name of the grape from […]

Visiting Serego Alighieri, Valpolicella

Last November, as well as visiting Masi, I also visited Serego Alighieri, where we were hosted by Massimilla di Serego Alighieri. She’s a direct descendant of Dante. The Serego Alighieri property is beautiful, and is also a high-end hotel.

Masi make and commercialize the wines from Serego Alighieri for the family. Massimilla has many talents: she […]

Meeting Mr Amarone: how Masi's Sandro Boscaini reinvented appassimento

Sandro Boscaini

Sandro Boscaini is the sixth generation of his family to head up the family winery. I visited to taste the Masi range, witness the grape drying process they have specialized in, and to interview him and his chief winemaker Andrea del Cin. It was a really interesting trip.

The core of Masi’s business is […]

Two natural Italian wines from The English Winemaker

These two wines are made by Matt Gregory, wine merchant turned winemaker who has adopted the name ‘The English Winemaker’. I met him in Christchurch last year when I was hanging out with Theo Coles, who he’d been doing vintage with. They’re really interesting.

The English Winemaker Mascot 2018 Piedmont, Italy
This is an aromatic skin-fermented Muscat […]

Ayunta: lovely wines from Etna, Sicily

Etna, in Sicily, is a special place for wine. And Ayunta is an exciting project in the region. I caught up with the man behind Ayunto, Filippo Mansion, to find out more.

Filippo hails from Sicily, although not from Etna, where he’s now a winegrower. He began Ayunta from scratch in 2011 and his first vintage […]

Two from Handford: Schaal Confluence and Garnacha not Guerra

I popped into Handford Wines yesterday to say hello to Greg Sherwood, and have a look round. If there is a merchant in London who has a better array of really interesting wine, then I’d like to see it (and London is full of good wine merchants). Greg opened a couple of bottles to taste […]

Eating and drinking in London: The Wine Place

I recently popped into The Wine Place in South Kensington to taste through some of their range. It’s a really nice space, over two floors, and as well as operating as a wine bar, also runs tastings and events, and does a bit of direct importing too. Until recently there were three sites, under the […]

Video: visiting Masi, masters of appassimento

Masi are one of the leading wine producers in the Veneto region of northern Italy. They are specialists in appassimento, the process of drying freshly harvested grapes on racks for three months after vintage. During the drying process, sugars, flavour compounds and acidity are concentrated, and metabolic changes take place in the grapes that otherwise […]

Three lovely Pinot Noirs from Franz Haas, Alto Adige, Italy

Franziskus Haas is the fifth generation to run his family’s winery, and here I got to try three of his Pinot Noirs, a variety he planted in the 1980s. Haas has some of the highest vineyards in the region, starting at 300 m and going up to about 850 m, and Pinot Noir, known as Pinot […]