Nobody will be travelling for the foreseeable, and whilst we can all appreciate why, you might well be getting a bit restless. Without being able to jet off to far flung lands, here’s a compromise: why not expand your cultural horizons by filling your glass with the flavour of a terroir that’s new to you? We have cuvées from all over the world just waiting to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.
Let’s start off in Italy, a country whose iconic wines will give you a taste of the dolce vita. There is no shortage of fine wine at the other side of the Alps, whether you’re looking for a big name or something more hidden away. Elisabetta Foradori and Arianna Occhipinti are two wine makers whose praises we haven’t stopped singing since we had the pleasure of tasting their work. The former has her home in the snowy peaks of the north, whilst the latter is used to the welcoming warmth of Sicily, but their viticultural philosophies are more alike than you might expect. Both are committed to bringing local, traditional grape varieties to life, both practice biodynamics on their vineyards, and both seek to protect the biodiversity of their landscapes. Most importantly, they both make delicious wine! We suggest Elisabetta Foradori’s 2016 Granato and Arianna Occhipinti’s 2018 SP68. These cuvées are light and fruity, and produced using grapes local to their respective terroirs.
There are certain Italian institutions that simply cannot be ignored. If you’re unfamiliar with the wines of the Peninsula, the three, principal wine-making regions are Tuscany, Piedmont and Venice. In Tuscany, blending is the way to go, with local and French grapes frequently added to the famous Sangiovese variety. The Guidalberto cuvée from the famous Tenuta San Guido was produced to demonstrate the magic that happens when Merlot is concocted with Sangiovese. We suggest the Guidalberto in its 2015 vintage, a bottle that can be enjoyed straight away. And if you’re looking for a wine to age for a while, another of the region’s big names might interest you: Sassicaia, available in the 2011 vintage (including magnums) shares much with the greats of Bordeaux, and will only improve as the decades roll on.
Piedmont is where the Nebbiolo grape reigns, and this is a variety that does not lend itself to blending, being quite the spectacle as a one-man show. Domaine Roagna is a true stalwart of the most prestigious of appellations, Barolo. And what better than the 2014 Barolo to make this fantastic discovery. We recommend putting this one in the cellar for ten to twenty years, an investment of time that will undoubtedly pay off in a glorious experience for the taste buds.
The final landmark region is Venice, where the Amarone wine is one to be tasted at least once in your life. To make this kind of wine, a raisining technique is used, consisting of collecting the grapes early in the year to preserve their acidity before letting them dry to concentrate the sugar and aroma. The 2012 Amarone from Domain Dal Forno is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished we’ve been able to enjoy.
Whilst Spain is bursting with appellations each more incredible than the next in its diversity and quality, let’s take a moment to look at just one, the legendary Ribera del Duero. Located at the heart of a mountainous region, we meet the Duero river which will become the Douro at the border with Portugal. Here, Tempranillo is planted, as well as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. And there are two domains that we hear about more than any others: Vega Sicilia and Pingus. Vega Sicilia’s 2010 Unico is a veritable legend only put to the market after ten years of maturation! And the 2016 Flor from Pingus is the second cuvée from talented wine maker Peter Sisseck, who prefers to see this cuvée as a second masterpiece, rather than simply a second wine.
Wines from further afield
There is treasure to be found down under as Australia’s wine production continues to build an excellent reputation. When Michel Chapoutier heard about the country’s great potential, he couldn’t help but be intrigued, and founded his own domain there. This was a bet that paid off, since his 2011 Pleiade cuvée (100% Shiraz) lacks nothing when compared to its French counterparts. Another Australian star, Penfolds, was perhaps the first domain to set its sights as high as it did. Each of Penfolds’ cuvées tells a different story, with the Bin 707, for example, defining the perfect expression of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.
Further south, in New Zealand, the terroirs are ripe for the growing of fine Pinot Noir vines. Take, or example, the 2017 Bannockburn cuvée from Felton Road, a wine that comes from vines cultivated biodynamically.
And to finish with, we should point out a great American classic, the fine wine from Harlan Estate, which we have here in the 2015 vintage. A veritable explosion of power and tannins, this wine was created by the famous oenologist Michel Rolland, who put all of his Bordeaux savoir-faire into the concoction of this little gem.