The wines of Lombardy/Lombardia

Tank fermented wines

Italian bubbles

Last night’s tasting with Andover Wine Friends reviewed Italy’s sparkling wines – the everyday bottles (basically tank-fermented) and the special occasion bottles (traditional method with classic varieties). Here is the line up for tank fermented: Passerina (example of a local variety, here from the Marche), Lambrusco, top quality Prosecco Superiore and delightful, inexpensive Asti.    

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Bracali – cuisine and wine

Francesco and Luca Bracali have created something extraordinary in their restaurant just outside Massa Marittima.  Theirs is the last property in a very, very ordinary row of houses in Ghirlanda. The garden outside with its stylish planting hints that this is somewhere special but the real magic is inside.  In the kitchen of Francesco and the

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Essi’s sparkling world tour

Hot foot from visiting 30 wine regions for her major revision of Christie’s Encylopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, Essi Avellan MW introduces 16 traditional-method sparkling wines. What she showed was how many places – including some very surprising locations – where the high quality sparkling wine is being made.  Please excuse any minor errors –

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Champagne still sparkles

The much anticipated, much postponed BBC (‘bring a bottle club’) on the theme of sparkling wine finally took place in September, having been chosen as a theme for birthdays in July and August.  It proved very instructive with one prejudice being confirmed and a couple of others weakened.  In terms of blind tasting it does

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Champagne scholarship 2013

I am delighted and rather surprised to be awarded the WSET/Champagne Board’s 2013 Champagne scholarship as part of my WSET Diploma studies.  Part of the surprise was that I did not know that the Wine and Spirit Education Trust gave scholarships, so I was a long way back when the scholarship secretary rang me to

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Gussalli Beretta: from guns to wine

Gussalli Beretta, based in the northern Italian city of Brescia, is a name much better known to collectors of high quality firearms than to wine lovers. But that may be about to change.  Under the name of Gussalli Beretta family wineries and distributed in the UK by Antonio Tomassini from Wine and Food Promotions, they

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Sparkling wine in the dark

Andover Wine Friends’ March tasting was designed to have some fun while tasting a range of sparkling wines blind.  It certainly achieved the first aim. The blind tasting part showed some the difficulties of this game all too clearly: 1.  Sparkling pink wines don’t give a lot away Apart from an occasional difference in colour

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North Italian tour

With a theme as big as North Italy, the Overton blind tasting group, where each member brings one or more bottles without much conferring, could have been very wide-ranging.  We had a fairly representative sample, though no sparkling wine (Prosecco, Franciacorta, Asti) and one obvious classic missing – Amarone della Valpolicella.  The selection was stronger

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Vinitaly 2: mainly bubbles

As Janet and I had been in Piemonte but not got to the Gavi area, we made a bee-line for the home of the Cortese grape at Vinitaly 2010.   This massive wine fair allows you to taste some of the real specialities (and peculiarities) of Italy and that includes some little known sparkling wines.  Here

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Bocca di lupo – a friendly wolf

Central London has been fortunate with new wine-related venues recently.  Alongside the tremendous success of Terroirs, near Charing Cross, Bocca di lupo, a splendid restaurant with excellent Italian food and wine, is to be found in a side street near Piccadilly Circus.  With both venues booking is pretty much essential – which tells you how

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