Italian Highlights

by Patrick Sandeman

In the week before many of the trade and journalists head down to Bordeaux  to taste the new wines from the 2010 vintage, we staged a small but select (indulgent?) tasting of wines from our portfolio. Piedmont played an important role with wonderful examples of Nebbiolo from Bricco Maiolica (Langhe),Einaudi (Barolo) and the extraordinarily precise wines of Sottimano (Barbaresco), new to our list. This range showcased perfectly how Nebbiolo (together with Pinot Noir) can be one of the most intellectual varieties on the planet. From sophistication then to challenging, in the guise of Arnaldo Caprai’s Sagrantino from Montefalco (Umbria). Densely packed and densely tannic these are not wines for the feint hearted, but are immensely satisfying to wine drinkers looking for more than just a kick of fruit. Tuscany was well represented by Poggerino’s exceptional Chianti Classico ‘Bugialla’, a stunning representation of Sangiovese, and for all those Bordeaux lovers, who have headed down to Aquitaine on Easy Jet this week-end, the Bolgherese wines from Le Macchiole were impressive, and one might well be hard pushed to find a better Merlot than Messorio, a wine that is rarely aired at tastings, given its scarcity or even a Cabernet Franc with such purity and expression as Paleo. Finally Tuscany’s leading and most drinkable Syrahs, and possibly only worthwhile Viognier, from Cortona’s leading vineyard, Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro; Rhone Ranger meets Romeo? The tasting has been written up by David Way ( and Jane Parkinson ( and, both of whom write tasting notes that are far more expressive and meaningful than my own!