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, [...]

Some amazing fine wines at The Sampler

Latour 1961 in the glass

Each Christmas The Sampler puts some rather special wines on its sampling machines, and this year is no exception. I popped into the South Kensington shop to try them; Islington has a different set of wines on. They aren’t cheap, but for many of these wines it’s a once in [...]

La Roncaia Eclisse 2011 a brilliant Sauvignon from Friuli

This is a new wine for me, and I’m glad that I discovered it. It’s from Friuli, near the Slovenian border, and it’s a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a dribble of Picolit that adds some more tropical/peachy notes. When I tasted it I didn’t know the varietal composition, and I think that can [...]

A pair from Tenuta di Trinoro

These are remarkable wines that are very hard to pigeonhole. On paper, they aren’t really my thing: we are looking at Bordeaux grape varieties, grown in Tuscany, and weighing in at 15.5 and 16% alcohol. And they cost a LOT of money. But they are compelling wines, even though the price tags are hefty indeed.

Andrea Franchetti [...]

Muscat and Moscato

Just had to do a Sunday Express column on Moscato, which gave me a chance to try a few different ones. I’ve included Muscat here, as well as what we normally think of as Moscato – a light, fizzy, sweet and rather delicious wine that offers simple joy.

Curatolo Arini Zibibbo 2011 Sicily, Italy
12.5% alcohol. Zibibbo [...]

Lunch at the Glasshouse

Brian Smith of Elgin Ridge

Had a great lunch at the Glasshouse, Kew on Monday, with Brian Smith, a now-biodynamic winegrower in Elgin, South Africa. I first met Brian and his wife Marion at the same restaurant just over a year ago (so my blog tells me), and they’ve now got to the point where they [...]