At the Real Wine Fair

Carla Kretzel and Craig Hawkins, Testalonga, South Africa

Today was a glorious day. Not only was it one of those rare English spring days with a vivid blue sky and freshness in the air, but also it was the day of The Real Wine Fair. It’s a wine fair that brings together producers of natural [...]

Learning to love Nebbiolo: Langhe Nebb from Vajra and Massolino

So I’ve been trying quite a few Nebbiolos of late, in a quest to learn to love it more. This has meant tasting a fair few young Barolos, and struggling a bit with their raw, primary tannins, which can be quite fearsome. This is where Langhe Nebbiolo proves useful. These wines are, as you’d expect, [...]

Give the wine enough time

I have been tasting today. I spent a good portion of the afternoon at two tastings of Italian wines: the first, the Armit tasting; the second, a preview of the Lay & Wheeler consumer Piemonte tasting.

I have got to the stage with tastings where I am happy not to taste everything. Even though there are [...]

Some nice bottles at The Remedy wine bar

Visited The Remedy for the first time on Thursday. It’s a new wine bar in Fitzrovia, on Cleveland Street and in close proximity to three tube stations (Regents Park, Warren Street and Great Portland Street).

This is a great addition to the rapidly expanding London wine bar scene, and the wine list is the real deal [...]

Guttarolo Primitivo, a remarkable amphora wine from Puglia

I love this wine. It’s a Primitivo, but not as you know it. Cristiano Guttarolo has just 5 hectares of vines, at 400 m altitude, and this remarkable wine is made from a small 0.6 hectare plot of Primitivo that is fermented in 500 litre clay amphorae from Umbria. After fermentation these amphorae are sealed [...]

Learning to love Nebbiolo: Mascarello, Giuseppe e Figlio

In my quest for Nebbiolo to love, I came across two rather gorgeous bottles from Giuseppe Mascarello. This is one of those producers with a reputation for making mostly sublime wines, but also one where quality can be up and down. When they are great they are truly great, but greatness is not guaranteed. When [...]

ViniItaliani, a great London destination for Italian wine

Last Wednesday I made a new discovery (new for me, at least). It’s ViniItaliani, a wine shop/wine bar on the Old Brompton Road in South Kensington. It also acts as a wholesaler for some wines that it imports directly, and has an associated consumer-directed online wineshop at www.italianwines.com.

London is becoming a great place [...]

Learning to love Nebbiolo: Ar.Pe.Pe Rosso di Valtellina

So I continue in my noble quest to learn to love Nebbiolo (see my previous posts here and here). This time, I am turning to the Valtellina region, a 70 mile long valley running east to west on the Italian-Swiss border. The vineyards here are terraced, and the primary grape is Nebbiolo, known locally as [...]

Learning to love Nebbiolo (1) Pio Cesare

A while back I posted on ‘Nebbiolo, I’d love to like you more’, which drew some very intelligent responses. I’m sure I lost a few followers – people who realized that if I question the greatness of Nebbiolo, I clearly have no palate and am not a serious person. I understand.

But even if I [...]

Montalbera Laccento 2010 Ruché, a rare red variety from Piedmont

This is such a distinctive, perfumed, floral red wine. It’s from Piedmont, and made from a very rare red grape variety called Ruché, of which there are only 40 hectares planted worldwide. It’s just my sort of style, showing elegance and aromatic interest, but with some edges too.

Montalbera Laccento 2010 Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, [...]