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 […]

In Milan, some pictures

Duomo di Milano

This weekend I am in Milan, on a small press trip with Ramada Hotels. I’ve been doing a bit of work putting together a special wine list for Ramada, showcasing some of the locations that the hotel chain operates in. It’s streamlined ‘say hello to red’ (their brand colour), and it’s a […]

Cape Wine (6) exploring Italian grape varieties in South Africa

What is it with Italy’s grape varieties? They are really interesting in Italy, but seldom travel well. Still, they attract their devotees, and they are planted in a range of different locales globally. This tasting focused on Italian varieties grown in South Africa, and it was hosted by Roberta Bottega who is from the family […]

Tasting 2015 Barbarescos and 2014 Barolos with Gaia Gaja

The articulate Gaia Gaja was in town to showcase her 2015 single vineyard Barbaresco releases, as well as the 2014 Barolos.

Perhaps Gaja’s greatest achievement as a producer has been to raise the status of Barbaresco, which has emerged a little from the shadow of its big brother Barolo. Langhe has two prestigious sub-regions: within the […]

2016 releases from the singular Tenuta di Trinoro, one of Tuscany's leading wine estates

When Andrea Franchetti first planted his Tenuta di Trinoro vineyard in 1992, he achieved something few vignerons get to do: he created something entirely new.

Born in New York, he was raised in Rome, but regularly returned to his birth city. He eventually became a restaurateur in New York, as well as repping Italian wines there […]

New releases from Frank Cornelissen: single-vineyard Etna wines

Frank Cornelissen

Frank Cornelissen was in town showing off his new wines. It’s a series of single-vineyard wines from his 25 hectares and 19 plots on Mount Etna. ‘It’s the focus of my work,’ he says, ‘but less than 10% of my production.’ He’s held off making these wines before, because his winemaking wasn’t good […]