Two brilliant, affordable summer whites, from Sardinia and Greece

For when the sun shines again in this stop, stop, start, stop summer, let me recommend two lovely, affordable wines from The Wine Society. Wines like this are in a real sweet spot for me: they have personality and give pleasure, and they are priced so I can enjoy them whatever the occasion.

Melis Ioacalia Vermentino [...]

Serious Sangiovese, Il Molino di Grace Gratius 2006

Now this isn’t a perfect wine. But it’s a very good one, it’s interesting, it’s edgy, and it tastes like the essence of Tuscan Sangiovese.

Sangiovese is not an easy grape. It doesn’t make accessible, fruity wines. It can be difficult, and it has a tendency to err in the direction of drying tannins and away [...]

Three good Italian reds

Italy deserves more of my attention. Here are three proper wines with personality and balance, and all attractively priced.

Accademia Dei Racemi Segna Vento Tarantino Primitivo 2010 Italy
13% alcohol. What a bargain! Fresh vivid and bright with sweet berry and cherry fruit, as well as some raspberry notes. I like the fresh, spicy, grippy tannins, too. [...]

A brilliant Falanghina for very little money

It’s useful to have a stock of wines that cost relatively little, but which taste really good. This is one of those Tuesday night wines. It’s a Falanghina from the southern tip of Italy, and it delivers.

Asda Extra Special Falanghina 2010 Puglia, Italy
12% alcohol. Full yellow colour. Rich and exotic with pungent melon and pear [...]

Anarkos: a lovely wine from the south of Italy

Very impressed by this ripe yet well defined red from Puglia. I’m seeing increasingly good wines coming from the south of Italy. There’s plenty of sunshine here, so the wines are usually ripe and sweetly fruitied, but the good ones (like this) show great definition. Astute commercial winemaking. It’s not the world’s greatest ever wine, [...]

A delicious high-end Bardolino from Guerrieri Rizzardi

This was interesting. Most of the Bardolinos I try are cheap, light red wines that serve a purpose but don’t justify extensive tasting notes. This is a high-end take on Bardolino that’s quite elegant and tasty. A bit expensive? But delicious.

Guerrieri Rizzardi Tacchetto 2010 Bardolino Classico, Veneto, Italy
A blend of Corvina, Rondinello and Merlot. Pale-coloured, [...]

A lovely Italian-influenced wine dinner

Had a lovely dinner here last night at Rodwell House. Robin had invited Johann Innerhofer and Laura Mauri (who own a wine farm and restaurant in Somerset West, with an incredible wine list) and Duncan and Zani Savage (Cape Point). We ate and drank very well.

After kicking off with a Charles Melton Rose and Pieropan [...]

Proper Soave in the form of Pieropan Calvarino

Nice way to wind down from a game of football. Proper Soave! It’s from Pieropan, and it’s the single vineyard Calvarino bottling. Soils are volcanic, with vines trained in a traditional Veronese pergola. Yields of 60 hl/ha are quite generous, but the wine doesn’t lack intensity. It’s fermented and aged in glass-lined cement tanks, with [...]

A remarkable natural Barolo

Now this is interesting. I encountered it at the Oslo tasting I’ve been at for the last couple of days.

It’s a naturally made Barolo from Giovanni Canonica. He makes very little – around 5000 bottles – which all sell out very quickly. Much of the production is sold in Japan.

Canonica farms 1.5 hectares in the [...]

A remarkable Freisa and a delicious Montepulciano

Two excellent wines at dinner last night, here in Oslo. The first, a Freisa from Langhe made like a Barolo; the second, a warmer wine, much richer and obvious, but still with good definition and edges.

Giuseppe Mascarello Langhe Freisa ‘Toetto’ 2004
This is Freisa made almost in the Barolo way (15 months in slavonian oak), and [...]