Diary of a wine writer

Three Barbaresco MGAs

Pertinace, Barbaresco – a co-operative with a sense of place

There are very few things I like more than a good co-operative wine producer. I love the romance of the small grape growers of a region pooling their harvests, sharing experience and expertise. Sensibly, they entrust the complex tasks of making, promoting and selling the wine to a company set up for the common good,

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Mascarello's Freisa

Diary 16 – Freisa, Nebbiolo’s rustic relative

This post completes my earlier survey of five local Monferrato grape varieties, Monferrato’s famous five. Freisa is one of Piemonte’s historic varieties, now not much grown but with one claim to fame. In 2004, Anna Schneider and her team at the University of Turin established that it has a parent-offspring relationship with the undisputed top

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Braida branding

Braida and Chiarlo – the two titans of Monferrato Barbera

Every wine region needs its standard-bearers. They come in various shapes and sizes, Krug in Champagne, DRC in Burgundy, Penfold’s in South Australia. However, what they share in common is being widely regarded as among the very best of a region’s producers. And, vitally, they carry the reputation of a whole region with them at

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Barbera, Freisa, Grignolino, Ruchè

Monferrato’s famous five

The most common complaint from those who know Piemonte well is that attention is overwhelmingly given, often exclusively given, to one grape variety, Nebbiolo, and one sub-region, the Langhe. The latter does contain the two great denominations of Barolo and Barbaresco but there is so, so much more to Piemonte. It has such great vinous

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Diary: 13 – A month and more with Roero

It is over two months since my last post and time has flown. We have been in the peculiar UK version of Covid-19 lockdown (‘we would appreciate it so much if you would please stay indoors etc’), work at the WSET has been busy, this website is getting a major update and, of course, there

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Sottimano HQ

Diary: 12 – slow, slow, Sottimano, slow,

With the Covid-19 crisis in full swing, we are all becoming expert at video conferencing. The new nightmare scenario would be to have simultaneous calls on Zoom, Microsoft Teams and a family call on Whatsapp! But this week I did have a conversation of over an hour with Andrea Sottimano via Zoom. The wifi in

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Diary: 10 – Plan B?

When I started this diary of a wine writer, I, of course, had no idea that this project was going to be impacted by a worldwide event. Back in October, Coronavirus was definitely not in the news. Even when I was in Alba in late January it was still something happening in faraway China, or

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Day 1 queue

Diary: 8 – taking the temperature

Grandi Langhi ‘Diary of a Wine Writer’ has become ‘Diary’, rather simpler than DWW, an opaque acronym, if close to my initials. I have just returned from a first, exploratory visit to the Langhe, the most well-known wine area of Piemonte. The occasion was Grandi Langhe, a presentation to the trade of the new vintages

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