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Italian Wines




Like Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli on their Italy Unpacked BBC series, we are going to take you on a whistle-stop tour of this country, albeit with less art, more wine and not as many sexy shots of Giorgio. Long story short, Italy has it all. New to wine? Pinot Grigio and Prosecco will ease you in with the country’s characteristic friendly warmth. Looking to explore something a little more complex? The likes of Gavi and Sicilian Nero d’Avola will take you gently by the hand, as you foray a little further.

Want to go for the top-end, old-school, age-worthy big boys? Pick up a Barolo or a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and gawp in wonderment  like a tourist in the Sistine Chapel. There are so many weird and wonderful grape varieties and regions, that there is always something new to discover.

But, just because they have it all, the Italians are no strangers to innovation. They are constantly promoting lesser-known grapes, like Nero Mascalese grown on Mount Etna in Sicily, (one delicious example of which is the Tenuta delle Terre Nerrelo Mascalese - coming soon) and are also having fun with the ‘noble’ grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay et al.)

The final word on Italian wine? It’s incredibly food-friendly (“claro!” shout all the Italians). Why does it work so well with food? Because it’s nearly always acidic. Doesn’t sound great, we’ll admit, but balanced acidity is a highly desirable thing, especially when pairing with food, as it literally makes your mouth water and cuts through oils, which most dishes contain. Without it, wine just can’t stand up to food which, we all know, would be una tragedia terribile.

Grande Vino....

  • Primitivo Puglia Terra di Sava 2015

    Now £9.50

    Was £10.50

    £9.50

    This is a red packed full of cherry and raspberry fruit and with overtones of mocha and rosemary that give this red serious refinement.
  • Masseria Borgo dei Trulli Primitivo 2016

    £14.00

    £14.00


    This rich Italian red is a bit like walking into your most-loved cafe.

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  1. Cantine Settesoli Aglianico 2016

    Cantine Settesoli Le Sene Aglianico 2016

    £8.00

    £8.00

    Seven brothers used the money their father left them to plant a vineyard. New to such a venture, they called in a French winemaker for advice, but given the risk was theirs, made it clear they had the final say.

    Just before their first harvest, their mother passed away. While the brothers attended her funeral, the French winemaker declared the grapes ready to pick. But the workers refused, saying they must wait before picking the grapes, for 'seven sons'. As the Sicilian workers spoke no French, and he no Italian, they communicated in smatterings of English, and the Frenchman understood them to mean another seven days of sunshine. Thus the grapes remained on the vines an extra week, the rich, peppery, berry flavours growing more intense by the hour. So positive was the outcome, the seven extra days of sun have been granted every vintage since.

  2. CastelGiocondo Brunello Di Montalcino 2012

    CastelGiocondo Brunello Di Montalcino 2012

    £52.00

    £52.00

    The label is a 14th Century depiction of Guidoriccio da Fogliano at the siege of Montemassi. It's a print, let's just be clear, a 14th century fresco is not included in the cost of this wine. That's quite a good business idea though, how much more would you pay for a bottle of Brunelo if it had a Sandro Botticelli original scribbled up the side? On second thought, it's probably not financially viable... What this bottle lacks in original artwork it makes up for in wine. The wine appears as a rich ruby red, then releases clean-edged aromas of raspberry and pomegranate, enriched by graceful floral notes. All components are beautifully balanced on the palate, with glossy, elegant tannins and a full-flavoured, long-lingering finish with a delicious minerally tang.

  3. Chianti Classico Olinto 2015

    Chianti Classico Olinto 2015

    £15.50

    £15.50

    LL Cool J once told us not to “call it a comeback;” apparently he’d been there for years. Yet, we think that’s a shame; a comeback is one of the most life affirming events in human endeavour. Elvis in the black leathers, Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final and Vince Vaughan in that Dodgeball tournament.

    However, there is one comeback that stands head and shoulders above the rest. We are of course talking about the I Fabbri winery. In the 1990's Susanna Grassi, who was already making a name in the fashion world, returned to her old family vineyards by chance. Only to find them in a state of ignominious dereliction. Without any specific experience and armed with nothing but good memories and the resolve to return her family estate to its former glory, Susanna started making wine. After years of toil, Chianti Classico Olinto stands as a testament to Susanna’s hard work. This Sangiovese/ Merlot blend has an intense bouquet of sour cherry, plum, tomato leaf and violet backed by a firm structure.

    Go on, you can call it a comeback!

  4. Duedonne Rosso Sussana

    Duedonne Rosso Susanna

    £18.50

    £18.50

    When women get together they can do marvellous things, like the Suffragettes movement! (Did you think we were going to use Taylor Swift's girl squad as the example? Well, we aren't; this is a high-brow tasting note.) Despite having to contend with the Cat and Mouse Act, force feeding and Herbert Asquith's ridiculous eyebrows, women in the UK gained the vote in 1928.

    Cut from the same cloth of feminine collaboration is Due Donne Rosso. Anna Muzzolini and Susanna Grassi from the Tuscan winery I Fabbri di Lamole are the "two women" of "Duedonne." Like great female partnerships of the past, the result is magnificent. This unusual indigenous red blend delivers an elegant mixture of dark fruit flavours, tart red berries, tomato leaf and wood smoke.

  5. Gavi I Produttori del Gavi White Wine Italian

    Gavi I Produttori Del Gavi 2017

    £10.75

    £10.75

    A daydream-awakening pinch of oneself may be needed when you see the price of this smart little Gavi. However the reality is that we've found another one of those true odd bins that give this company its name. And in this case, one for which the price has worked out particularly favourably.

    This is actually very true to Gavi in the way you'd expect and surprisingly good. Fresh and clean and superbly balanced at just 11% alcohol, this delicate wine slips down exceptionally well. The perfect finishing touch to a relaxing evening.

  6. Gavi Mignanego Cortese 2013 Vegan and Vegetarian White Wine

    Gavi Mignanego Cortese 2013

    £7.75

    £7.75

    'Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements,' is how the old rhyme goes. The rhyme then proceeds to get extremely dark, terrorising children with threats of heads being chopped off. Which is a shame, because Oranges and Lemons could have made for a nice analogy for Gavi Mignanego, which also says oranges lemons.

    This white wine also says lightly honeyed lemon and apple, although there isn't a set of London bells that rhymes with apple. Do let us know if we're wrong on that one though.

  7. Cantine Gemma 'Giblin' Barolo Italian Wine

    Gemma 'Giblin' Barolo 2010

    £49.00

    £49.00

    The Cantine Gemma premises formerly belonged to the Marchesi Falletti's Opera Pia Barolo, which we rather like the idea of. Although it's now a fully decked, state-o'-the-art winery, we like to imagine that the spirits of the opera singers still inhabit the place and imbue the wines with a certain romance and drama.

    It certainly tastes like that with Giblin, which is a delightful overture, with the statuesque male protagonist of firm tannins and smoke playing perfectly against the wistful, feminine notes of roses and heady yet elegant spice. Bravo.

  8. Gemma Barolo Colarej Italian Red Wine 2014

    Gemma Barolo Colarej 2014

    £39.00

    £39.00

    Gemma - or 'gem' in English - does exactly what is says on the tin. But not in a Ronseal kind of way; don't try to stain your garden shed with it.

    No, instead, try decanting this rare jewel of a red wine, slow-cooking a bollito misto (northern Italian stew), slipping into a velvet dressing gown and then heading down to the garden shed (which you've painted with Ronseal) and enjoying its gloriously dark and complex flavours of sour cherry and violet and intense, rich, subtle spice in total serenity.

  9. Lambrusco Cialdini 2016 Vegan and Vegetarian Red Wine

    Lambrusco Cialdini 2016

    £14.00

    £14.00

    If there's one things those Italians do rather well it's a good old renaissance. One second you're in the dark ages farming turnips, the next Michelangelo's up some scaffolding painting babies on the ceiling. Well, that's what we learned in Oddbins history class, anyway. Lambrusco is the latest Italian to experience a renaissance. For a while you'd avoid the guest who brought you a bottle of that glorified Cherryade like they were a member of the Borgias family. No longer, wines like Villa Cialdini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro are defining the category. Ruby red in colour, with plenty of bright bubbles. On the nose it has a fresh, pronounced and very fine fruity scent. On the palate the wine is delicate, tangy and well-balanced, with pleasant refreshing acidity, floral notes and forest fruits on the finish. A wine fit for Da Vinci!

  10. Negroamaro Salento Terra di Sava Red Wine

    Negroamaro Salento Terra di Sava 2013

    £9.50

    £9.50

    Conjure the image, if you will, of a long, oak table in a conservatory in Venice. It's after dinner, the table is laden with bowls of plums, cherries and raspberries, and a steaming cafetiere of Kenyan coffee is giving off aromas that are teasing your nose. Vivaldi is playing in the background whilst beautiful children are playing in the garden outside. Are you there? Good, because this is pretty much what you get when you tuck into this Italian beauty. Bellissima!

  11. Cantina di Soave Pinot Grigio 'Della Rocca' White Wine

    Pinot Grigio Della Rocca 2016

    £8.00

    £8.00

    Della Rocca: it sounds like a kind of Italian strongman doesn't it? A muscle-clad, moustachioed hunk in silky red shorts, who could sing O Sole Mio whilst balancing on one toe and weightlifting a fir tree. The reality of this wine, however, is rather different: it's the most delicate, nuanced little thing, but its greatness lies not in muscle-power or high alcohol (it's just 11.5%), but in its subtle lemon, pear and acacia notes.

  12. Pinot Grigio Rosé Della Rocca 2013

    Pinot Grigio Rosé Della Rocca 2016

    £8.00

    £8.00

    We don't know about you, but we get mildly irritated when we see pretty-in-pink, butter wouldn't melt in their mouth-type lasses. Part of us just thinks they should get some mud on their frocks and join the real world. But then we think, actually, vive la difference; there is a place for dainty little things as there is a place for everything.

    In fact, we quite like some of them - such as this happy-go-lucky, fresh and peachy Pinot Grigio Blush from the rolling hills of Veneto. In fact, this wine makes us want to put on a tutu and go skipping around some hillsides ourselves.

  13. Primitivo Puglia Terra di Sava 2015 Italian Red

    Primitivo Puglia Terra di Sava 2015

    Now £9.50

    Was £10.50

    £9.50

    Primitivo, the grape used in this wine, translates from the Italian as 'primitive', but rather than being a club-waving, monosyllabic, chest-beating creature, this is a most refined being. Whilst the Primitivos of Southern Italy are known for packing quite a punch (and this is certainly packed full of cherry and raspberry fruit) the overtones of mocha and rosemary here give this red serious refinement. Would make an admirable companion to frankly any soirée and any company - however refined - or primitive.

  14. Sassicaia 2015 Red Wine

    Sassicaia 2015

    £145.00

    £145.00

    Its creator, Mario Incisa Della Rochetta, first made the pioneering decision to plant cabernet sauvignon here in the 1940s. Although cultivating cabernet in Italy was almost unheard of, Mario was a great claret fan, and he realised that the climate and soils of Bordeaux were similar to those of part of his estate. Using grafts from Château Lafite, he planted the vines by the family fortress, where they would be protected from the sea breezes.

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