Author Archive

Mario Cordero (Vietti) talks Moscato d’Asti

Here I talk to Mario Cordero of the brilliant Vietti winery in Piemonte when he came to visit Bibendum Wine in London. Vietti are well known for their serious single cru Barolo, so I ask him, how do you like to have your Moscato d’Asti? This has to be one of the most fun wines […]

Beautiful Gestures in Campania

After paying for a ticket to see the Palace in Caserta I asked, why is the main entrance in darkness? To give you an idea of the opulence and amount of marble of this entrance, this is the same place that is used as stand-in for the Vatican in films and also used as a […]

For Super-Geeky & Friends: Enoteca Ferrara, Roma 00153

If you have friends who say Italian wine is confusing, then take them to this wine bar in Trastevere in Rome.   The wines on the blackboard called me in from the street with a listing as colourful and clear as notes on a children’s toy xylophone.   In principle, the best wine bars have […]

Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta

Imagine the bubbles of Franciacorta are not spherical but square and you’ll have the true idea of Italy’s premier sparkling wine. This is one of the most disciplined DOCG regions in the North of Italy, between Milan and Venice, and has a super-commitment to quality that is almost frightening if you expect Italy to be […]

Reclaiming the Noble Wines of Southern Italy: Sara Carbone, Basilicata

A properly romantic wine has a sense of adventure. Sara Carbone’s wines from Mount Vulture in Basilicata, Southern Italy bring to mind the line from Descartes about travelling that it “is like talking to men from other centuries.” Not only are her Aglianico del Vulture and Fiano complex and interesting wines in themselves but they are […]

Seeing Rosso: the economic and social impact of changing Rosso di Montalcino

Why? I keep asking myself, Why? I am seeing the news coming in from the Brunello Consorzio and it is exasperating! Why this constant push by the Consorzio to change the Rosso di Montalcino blend when most producers have clearly said no. Why is the decision that was scuppered in February back on the agenda […]

Prosecco is for girls

“She’s angry with us for dissing Prosecco – every girls favourite fizz!”* Sure. Prosecco is for girls. Just like My Little P ony and the colour pink. Peaches are girly and how much do you love those peachy, soft bubbles? It’s not as expensive as Champagne but it sure does look like it!!!** Get him […]

100% Lagrein (blink and you’ll miss it)

There are so many different and beautiful wines in Italy, blink and you could miss one. This is what happened to me recently after a spate of Italian tastings in London. It wasn’t until I looked back over my notes, I started to see a pattern emerging: 100% Lagrein. A red wine from Alto Adige, […]

Funhouse of Mirrors in Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico is a funhouse of mirrors where Sangiovese enters different rooms and finds certain flavours are emphasized and others shrunk until there is a confusion about where you are and what you are supposed to be tasting. Someone cries, “Get me out of here!” and you rush back out, full of adrenaline, back into the […]

A guide to getting more Valpolicella pleasure (featuring Stefano Accordini)

Just as folk music gets louder and more fun as the evening progresses, Valpolicella goes up in different levels of intensity and is often all the better for it. Understanding these different levels of Valpolicella opens up a world of drinking pleasure. But it is not always easy. There are traditional producers and modern producers, […]

The Super-Tuscan Snafu: Considering James Suckling’s list of Top 12 Tuscan wines from over 10 years ago.

When learning Italian, I have been told many times the most beautiful accent to learn is from Siena in Tuscany because Tuscans are the poets of Italy.   The language of wine in Tuscany is also very rich, with a long tradition of culture and history with interesting local idiosyncrasies, yet the recent past, dominated […]

Branko, Collio Pinot Grigio 2009

Don’t tell me this is a Pinot Grigio. Apart from just learning the Collio region has recently been wiped out by violent storms; this wine is proof that we have accepted a feeble lie about the Pinot Grigio grape for far too long. This is the real deal. From the North-East of Italy, on the […]

Breakfast wine: Moscato d’Asti on Sundays

It is not often you find a wine with a sense of humour, but this lightly sparkling, lightly sweet wine is the vinous equivalent of being overpowered by tickling. Logic says, don’t give in, but the frizzante, well – it is hardly bubbles, and 5.5% alcohol is hardly wine, and it is as sweet and light as a […]

Anselmi Wines from the Veneto: What Happens After the Divorce

“You are not “suave” as your name implies, you are uncontrollable, untameable, unfaithful. So that’s it. I’m going. I’m leaving you, and this letter tells you why… It is easy to understand that hillside viniculture is potentially very different indeed from the viniculture of the plains. Unfortunately, the market mistakes one for the other: the bad […]

Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold? Rumours from Montalcino

Rumours from the hills of Montalcino today is Colle Massari is acquiring Piero Palmucci’s Poggio di Sotto. An elderly gentleman with no offspring interested in taking over the vineyard, it could soon be in the hands of Claudio Tipa, winemakers from Maremma, part of the family who are also patrons of Alinghi team in the […]

Notes from Parma: What is quality Lambrusco?

Parma is VIOLETS. Aged hams, dark chocolate, profumo, the fizz of Lambrusco. Violets became popular under Maria-Luiga, the Duchess of Parma and second wife of Napoleon, whose presence can be felt everywhere walking along the prosciutto-coloured streets. The smell of violet has three distinct parts: candy-sweet, violet flower and violet leaf. In my opinion, this […]

Notes from Parma: My response to “What Food, What Wine” Competition’s Zero Score for Italy

Emilia-Romagna is strange. The train departure board could be a poster announcing a stadium tour of gastronomic rockstars – Parma, Bologna, Modena – and yet… as far as wine goes, the region is mostly known for its sweet fizzy Lambrusco.

Alpine Nebbiolo from Valtellina DOC

It may surprise you to know, the most radical group of architects in the late 1960s came from the Duomo-dominated horizon of Florence. Calling themselves Superstudio, they critiqued the dominant idea that architecture is a benevelont force in society and questioned the impact of built environments on politics. Radical at the time, with their surreal […]

A Tale of Two Vineyards: Giacomo Conterno dinner at Zucca

When one of the oldest Barolo house changes guard, it is worth sitting up and taking notice. Cantina Giacomo Conterno is a great name in Barolo wines and was established in 1908. With the passing away of the formidable Giovanni Conterno in 2004, his son Roberto took the helm. There have been a few changes […]

Pure Pleasure State: Vermentino! (Amore, Amore, Amore)

The state of Vermentino is pure pleasure. So I raised my eyebrows to the challenge to show there were different styles of the vermentino grape. To me it is obvious: all vermentino seems to show a wave of glamourous flavour which ends in a quiet shhhh of reaching the shore. Whether the Vermentino is from […]