italy

Italy

Of the many wine producing regions of Italy, we concentrate principally on two - Tuscany and Piedmont - where arguably the finest wines are made. Tuscany is the home of Sangiovese - which finds its greatest expression in the wines of Montalcino - while Piedmont is the home of Nebbiolo - the grape variety of Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, we have wines from Friuli in the far northeast, close to the border with Slovenia, from the Veneto (particularly famous for the sparkling wines made from Prosecco) and from Umbria, where quality can be very fine, while price remains remarkably reasonable.

Wine production in Italy has undergone an extraordinarily rapid period of change over the last 20 to 30 years. Gone is the obsession, born at least in part from the impoverishment of the post-War years, for producing the maximum possible volume from the vineyards, which resulted in the production of vast quantities of dilute, under-ripe and poorly made wines. The generation of the increasingly affluent decades of the 1970s and 1980s, which has now taken control of family vineyards, has very different ideas. The transparency of the global market, and the competition for the attention of wine drinkers has brought in its wake the realisation that wine, however cheap, will not sell if the quality is not there. Now we have a generation of Italian producers making wines of the highest quality at all levels of price.


Red

 
 
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UNITS/CASE
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Ampeleia

Ampeleia is a beautiful & elegant Super Tuscan from Elisabetta Foradori’s new estate located in the hills of the Maremma region high above the Tuscan coast. Maremma's reputation is burgeoning, and whilst this particular Maremma gem continues to fly under the radar it offers nothing short of astonishing value for money.

Elisabetta is one of Italy’s leading winemakers with a fine reputation founded on the outstanding wines produced at her estate in Trentino and she has brought all of her dynamism and talent to bear on this exciting Tuscan venture, delivering truly authentic Super-Tuscan finesse without the high prices usually associated with Tuscans of this quality.

 
Ampeleia vineyards
2011 Ampeleia, Maremma Toscana x 6
 2014-2024
 6 Bottles
£137.50
£180.00
 
2015 Ampeleia, Maremma Toscana x 6
 2018-2028
 6 Bottles
£149.50
£195.00
 

Elisabetta Foradori

1996 Granato, Elisabetta Foradori x 6
 2005-2021
 6 Bottles
TBA
£234.00
 

Bibi Graetz

2018 Colore, Toscana, Bibi Graetz x 3
 
 3 Bottles
£540.00
TBA
 

Elio Grasso

Elio Grasso began making and bottling his own wines in 1978, having taken over from his father Romano who sold his grapes in bulk.  Since 1996 Elio has worked with his son Gian Luca, and together they have established themselves as among the most outstanding producers of Piedmont.  Based in Monforte d\'Alba, all the wines produced come from the Grasso\'s own vineyards - about 18 hectares - and are matured in casks of Slovenian oak.  The Barolos from this estate are utterly brilliant, but perhaps the biggest surprise is the extraordinary quality of the 'little' wines - the Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo are among the finest examples we have ever tasted.

 
image domain
2014 Barbera d'Alba Vigna Martina, Elio Grasso x 6
 2016-2021
 6 Bottles
£124.50
£165.00
 
2014 Barolo, Elio Grasso x 6
 2019-2024
 6 Bottles
£228.00
£289.20
 
2016 Barbera d'Alba Vigna Martina, Elio Grasso x 6
 2018-2023
 6 Bottles
£126.50
£168.00
 
2017 Barbera d'Alba Vigna Martina, Elio Grasso x 6
 2020-2025
 6 Bottles
£124.00
£165.00
 
2018 Dolcetto d'Alba, dei Grassi, Elio Grasso x 6
 2019-2022
 6 Bottles
£69.00
£99.00
 
2018 Nebbiolo Langhe, Elio Grasso x 6
 2019-2025
 6 Bottles
£97.00
£132.00
 
2019 Dolcetto d'Alba, dei Grassi, Elio Grasso x 6
 2020-2023
 6 Bottles
£69.00
£99.00
 
2019 Nebbiolo Langhe, Elio Grasso x 6
 2020-2026
 6 Bottles
£99.00
£135.00
 

Bruna Grimaldi

2016 Barolo Camilla, Bruna Grimaldi x 6
 
 6 Bottles
£150.00
£196.20
 
2018 Nebbiolo d'Alba Bonurei, Bruna Grimaldi x 6
 
 6 Bottles
£82.50
£115.50
 

Tenuta San Guido

The website for Sassicaia (Tenuta San Guido) can be found at http://www.sassicaia.com

 
image domain
2017 Le Difese, Tenuta San Guido x 6
 2019-2023
 6 Bottles
£70.00
£100.20
 

Castello di Magione

The Castello di Magione, west of Perugia, dates from around 1150, beginning as a shelter built by the Knights Hospitallers for travellers on the pilgrim routes between Compostella, Rome and Jerusalem.  Defensive fortifications were added later, when the building was enlarged, first in 1367 and then again in 1471, in response to the turbulent nature of central Italian geo-politics in the 14th and 15thcenturies.  The Magione estate today covers 1,325 hectares of agricultural land of which 30 hectares are planted with vines.  Several sections of the estate are covered by a cabreo – a map and inventory of its many constituent parts drawn up in the 19th century – the estate archives hold an extraordinary collection of these remarkably detailed documents.  Where appropriate, the Magione wines take their names from their historic cabreo.  The vineyards are planted on the slopes facing towards Lake Trasimeno; the microclimate here is especially good, with the influence of the lake tempering the heat of the Umbrian summer.  The estate has benefitted from the construction of a fabulous, genuinely state-of-the-art (an otherwise much over-used phrase) new winery which was opened on 5th September 2009, in time to receive the 2009 harvest.

 
Magione
2018 Rosso Sangiovese, Castello di Magione x 6
 2018-2021
 6 Bottles
£45.00
£70.50
 

Santa Maria

On the edge of the town of Montalcino itself is this tiny property, bought by Marino Colleoni in 1989.  He has just 1.5 hectares of vines, mostly in the northern zone of the appellation.  The vineyards are run along organic lines – no chemical herbicides or pesticides used – and the winemaking follows traditional lines.  Marino is however a man with an inquiring mind: he has conducted various experiments when ageing his wines prior to bottling – including most recently two barrels made out of chestnut and mulberry wood respectively.  The man’s exuberant enthusiasm spills over into the style of these wonderfully expressive wines.

 
Santa Maria cuverie
2009 Brunello di Montalcino, Marino Colleoni, Santa Maria x 6
 2014-2024
 6 Bottles
£247.50
£312.00
"From Podere Sante Marie on the steepest, most isolated flank of Montalcino, the 2009 Brunello di Montalcino is a brooding and mysterious wine packed tight with dark fruit, cassis, crushed stone, tar and tobacco. Marino Colleoni is a man of enormous charisma and energy and these traits translate directly to his carefully crafted Brunellos. His honest approach (in barrel tasting, he will take you through the good and the bad) makes for impeccable and sharply focused wines. 92" Monica Larner in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate #211 
2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Marino Colleoni, Santa Maria x 6
 2017-2030
 6 Bottles
£374.50
£465.00
 
2012 Brunello di Montalcino, Marino Colleoni, Santa Maria Magnums x 3
 2017-2027
 3 Magnums
£269.50
£339.00
 
2015 Brunello di Montalcino, Marino Colleoni, Santa Maria Magnums x 3
 2020-2030
 3 Magnums
£297.00
£372.60
 
2015 Brunello di Montalcino, Marino Colleoni, Santa Maria x 6
 2020-2030
 6 Bottles
£318.00
£399.00
 
2016 Rosso di Montalcino, Marino Colleoni, Santa Maria x 6
 2019-2024
 6 Bottles
£144.00
£189.00
 

Fattoria La Massa

Giampaolo Motta is one of the most passionate winemakers with whom we are lucky enough to work.  2011 will be the first vintage he makes in his brilliant new winery, so we can expect him to go from strength to strength.  He has posted a letter on James Suckling's blog and quoting it in full allows him to speak for himself in explaining part of what lies behind his decision to withdraw from the Chianti Classico system:

"I made the choice to declassify my wines 8 years ago for two primary reasons: commercial and personal. However I have steadfastly concentrated on producing wines of high quality that reflect, as James [Suckling] points out, my dream. I cannot go into great detail, in this forum, to explain the commercial reasons but I will say that I made the correct choice for me and for my winery. As for the personal reasons: I want to make wines that reflect my personality and my dream to someday make what I call a "great" wine. With La Massa I.G.T., Sangiovese is the soul of the wine. I choose the best grapes from our vineyards and try to obtain the best expression that this variety has to offer by doing a delicate extraction and short vinification. Giorgio Primo is my heart, my dreams and my personality. It is the style of wines I enjoy the most. My first experiences in wine were in Bordeaux many years ago. Its wines have had a great influence on my palate; its wine makers, a great influence on my thinking about wine; its methods, on my wine making. I have reverence for its history and precision and the expression the wines show of its terroir. Don’t forget that Cabernet Sauvignon is present in Tuscany since 1600 under the name of “uva francesa”. For me, today, it is about having the liberty to express my dreams, my personality and very importantly the incredible terroir (not VARIETY) of this place - LA MASSA."  Giampaolo Motta

 
La Massa barrel cellar
2016 Giorgio Primo, La Massa, Fattoria La Massa x 6
 
 6 Bottles
£401.50
£498.00
 

Montepeloso

1998 Gabbro, Montepeloso x 6
 2002-2020
 6 Bottles
TBA
£234.00
"The debut vintage of the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon cuvee, the 1998 Gabbro, is a terrific example of what can be produced in this area adjacent to the Mediterranean. Keep in mind that the famous Sassicaia is close by, as are the hillside vineyards of the cult wine, Tua Rita. The saturated black/purple-colored 1998 Gabbro boasts sumptuous aromatics of cherry liqueur, cassis, toasty new oak, minerals, spice box, and tobacco. There is extravagant intensity, an opulent texture, and a large-scaled, rich, concentrated finish. 93" Robert Parker 

Figli Luigi Oddero

2018 Dolcetto d'Alba, Figli Luigi Oddero x 6
 2019-2022
 6 Bottles
£84.00
£117.00
 
2015 Barolo, Figli Luigi Oddero x 6
 2019-2029
 6 Bottles
£203.00
£259.80
 
2016 Barolo, Figli Luigi Oddero x 6
 2020-2030
 6 Bottles
£224.00
£285.00
 
2018 Barbera d'Alba, Figli Luigi Oddero x 6
 2020-2024
 6 Bottles
£102.50
£139.50
 

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia

The website for Tenuta dell'Ornellaia can be found at http://www.ornellaia.com/home.html

 
image domain
2017 Le Volte, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia x 6
 2020-2023
 6 Bottles
£82.00
£114.60
 
2017 Le Serre Nuove, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia x 6
 2020-2027
 6 Bottles
£180.00
TBA
 
2018 Le Volte, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia x 6
 2021-2024
 6 Bottles
£82.00
£114.60
 

Siro Pacenti

A 20 hectare estate of which 13 hectares are south of Montalcino, and 7 to the north, where the winery is to be found, a mile or so off the road to Buonconvento and Siena. Giancarlo Pacenti’s new winery is a truly a state of the art construction, allowing him the space and facilities to meet his self-imposed exacting standards.  I was amused by his statement that the sorting table is always staffed by women – on the grounds that their work in picking out any grapes not in absolutely perfect condition is so much more precise and reliable.  Giancarlo is fortunate to have a high proportion of old vines – 40-45 years – amongst his holdings, planted by his maternal grandfather, Alessandro Pieri; it is to these that he attributes the exceptional complexity of his wines.  He may be right – but it takes a great wine maker to bring such potential to fruition in the winery.

 
Siro Pacenti
2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva P S, Siro Pacenti x 6
 2020-2030
 6 Bottles
£597.00
TBA
 
2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva P S, Siro Pacenti Magnum x 1
 2020-2030
 1 Magnum
£229.00
£280.00
 
2013 Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne, Siro Pacenti x 6
 2019-2027
 6 Bottles
£301.50
£378.00
 
2014 Brunello di Montalcino Pelagrilli, Siro Pacenti x 6
 2018-2023
 6 Bottles
£151.50
£198.00
 
2018 Rosso di Montalcino, Siro Pacenti x 6
 2020-2028
 6 Bottles
£119.00
£159.00
 

Luca Roagna

 
image domain
2014 Barbaresco Faset, Luca Roagna x 6
 2020-2030
 6 Bottles
£395.00
TBA
 
2014 Barbaresco Gallina, Luca Roagna x 6
 2020-2030
 6 Bottles
£395.00
TBA
 
2014 Barolo La Pira, Luca Roagna x 6
 2024-2039
 6 Bottles
£395.00
£490.20
 

Salvioni

Giulio Salvioni has for nearly twenty years been universally regarded as one of the true masters of Brunello di Montalcino.  In particular, he is one of the finest exponents of the old ‘traditional’ style of Brunello, producing genuinely hand-crafted wines, aged in the old-style large oak botte.  His wines perfectly display the essence of Montalcino terroir: an ethereal fragrance, distinctive savoury notes and a unique textural quality.  With just two hectares of vines, production is miniscule.

 
Salvioni cellar
2015 Brunello di Montalcino, Salvioni x 6
 2022-2035
 6 Bottles
£575.00
£706.20
 
2017 Rosso di Montalcino, Salvioni x 6
 2019-2025
 6 Bottles
£189.00
£243.00
 
2018 Rosso di Montalcino, Salvioni x 6
 2020-2025
 6 Bottles
£206.50
£264.00
 

Sandrone

Luciano Sandrone began as a cellar master, and in the late 1970s had the opportunity of buying some vineyard land in the Cannubi - the heart of Barolo.  His first vintage of his own wine was 1978.  Since then he has worked with his brother Luca to produce wines which have established his reputation as one of the foremost producers of the region.  A new winery was built in 1998, but the emphasis remains always on the vineyard work.  The Sandrone wines receive rave reviews from the wine press - and rightly so.

 
Sandrone
2014 Barolo Aleste, Sandrone Double Magnum x 1
 2019-2028
 1 Double Magnum
£285.00
£352.40
 
2017 Nebbiolo d'Alba, Valmaggiore, Sandrone x 6
 2020-2025
 6 Bottles
£134.50
£177.00
 
2018 Nebbiolo d'Alba, Valmaggiore, Sandrone x 6
 2021-2026
 6 Bottles
£134.50
£177.00
 

Castello di Argiano

Giuseppe-Maria and Sarah Sesti own this sublime 102 hectare estate, Castello di Argiano, in the hills south of Montalcino, overlooking the Orcia valley.  There are 9 hectares of vines, with the rest of the estate a mixture of olive groves, grazing and woodland.  The Castello is a 12th century hilltop fortification occupying a site first settled by Etruscans, then by Romans and then by Cistercian monks sent from the nearby abbey of San Antimo.  It is the Cistercians’ 9th century oratory which still stands at the heart of the hamlet, dominated by the tower built to keep watch over this important strategic site on the southern marches of the old republic of Siena.  Sesti began planting vines in the early 1990s, and over the last 15 years has established a strong reputation for the outstanding quality of his wines.  Everything here is run strictly according to the influence of lunar phases, reflecting Giugi’s other great area of expertise – astronomy.  Their daughter Elisa, was born at Argiano and educated in Italy and England.  In 1999 she returned to Argiano where she is now co-director, and involved in all aspects of running the estate.

http://www.sestiwine.com/

 
Lemon blossom at Argiano
2012 Phenomena, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Sesti, Castello di Argiano x 6
 2018-2024
 6 Bottles
£374.50
£465.00
 
2013 Phenomena, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Sesti, Castello di Argiano x 6
 2019-2025
 6 Bottles
£375.00
£466.20
 
2014 Brunello di Montalcino, Sesti, Castello di Argiano x 6
 2018-2028
 6 Bottles
£224.00
£285.00
 
2015 Brunello di Montalcino, Sesti, Castello di Argiano x 6
 2018-2028
 6 Bottles
£265.00
£334.20
 
2016 Monteleccio, Sesti, Castello di Argiano
 2018-2023
 12 Bottles
£146.50
£207.00
 
2017 Monteleccio, Sesti, Castello di Argiano
 2019-2024
 12 Bottles
£146.50
£207.00
 
2017 Rosso di Montalcino, Sesti, Castello di Argiano
 2018-2024
 12 Bottles
£210.50
£285.00
 
2018 Monteleccio, Sesti, Castello di Argiano
 2020-2025
 12 Bottles
£138.00
£198.00
 
2018 Rosso di Montalcino, Sesti, Castello di Argiano
 2018-2024
 12 Bottles
£190.00
£260.40
 

Tua Rita

The website for Tua Rita can be found at http://www.tuarita.it/

 
Tua Rita
2017 Redigaffi, Tua Rita x 6
 2022-2032
 6 Bottles
£825.00
TBA
 

Alessandro Veglio

2014 Dolcetto d'Alba, Alessandro Veglio x 6
 2016-2020
 6 Bottles
£50.00
£75.00
Delicious ripe dark cherry fruit. Juicy and ripe on the palate, with fine structuring tannins. 
2015 Barolo, Alessandro Veglio x 6
 2017-2022
 6 Bottles
£144.00
£189.00
 
2017 Dolcetto d'Alba, Alessandro Veglio x 6
 2017-2019
 6 Bottles
£62.50
£91.50
 
2017 Nebbiolo Langhe, Alessandro Veglio x 6
 
 6 Bottles
£86.50
£120.00
 
2018 Barbera d'Alba, Alessandro Veglio x 6
 2020-2024
 6 Bottles
£71.50
£102.00
 

Sparkling

 
 
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Villa Giustiniani

The late 16th century Villa Giustiniani in Spresiano, close to the River Paive, is the headquarters of a 435 hectare estate the heart of which was owned for many years by the Giustiniani family before passing to the Order of Malta.  Mostly given over to arable farming on the fertile river plain, there are also 15 hectares of pear orchards, 40 hectares of walnut trees and 20 hectares of vineyards.  Of these, 10 are planted with Prosecco for the production of this delicious sparkling wine.

 
Villa Giustiniani
NV Prosecco Extra Dry, Villa Giustiniani x 6
 2018-2021
 6 Bottles
£62.50
£52.37
Made entirely from the Prosecco grape. Very pale lemon colour and fine mousse. Pretty floral aromas. Full of lovely freshness on the palate, with attractive white fruit flavours and a clean, fresh finish. Extraordinarily good value. 

Albino Rocca

This 23 hectare estate based in Barbaresco was established by Albino Rocca in 1950, and is now run by his son Angelo and by Angelo\\\'s daughters Daniela, Monica and Paola, and a son-in-law, Carlo.  The wines are beautifully made and well priced, with the Moscato d\\\'Asti a particular favourite.

 
Albino Rocca cellar
2018 Moscato d'Asti, Figli Luigi Oddero x 6
 2019-2021
 6 Bottles
£86.50
£120.00
 

White

 
 
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UNITS/CASE
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Rocca Bernarda

The Rocca Bernarda – more villa than fortress despite its appearance – stands in a classic Italian setting of ancient cypress trees and vines, with spectacular views over the surrounding country and the village of Premariacco, near Udine.  It was built by the Counts Valvason Maniago in 1567, by which time wine was already being made on the estate, and after a number of changes of ownership, passed to the current owners in 1977. As well as its ‘regular’ wines, the estate also produces a remarkable pudding wine from Picolit – a variety which effectively owes its continuing existence in the region to the passionate work of previous owners of the estate, Giuseppina Perusini and particularly her son Gaetano, who did so much to preserve its cultivation in the 1950s. The estate’s vineyards are especially well placed, on gentle slopes which allow good exposure both to the cooling winds which blow from the north and to the coastal summer breezes; these ensure a wide range of temperatures and the development of correspondingly complex aromas and flavours in the wines.  Grapes are hand picked and vinified in stainless steel vats.

 
Rocca Bernarda
2016 Picolit, Rocca Bernarda x 6 50cl bottles
 2019-2028
 6 50cl Bottles
£203.50
£255.00
The grapes are harvested in late October and then laid out on rush mats for a month, allowing the sugars to concentrate. Fermented and aged entirely in barrel. Lustrous straw gold colour. Stunning aromas of honey and caramelised apples. Complex, sweet and ripe on the palate, with a real lift of acidity providing the wine with excellent balance and length. A really wonderful pudding wine. 

Castello di Magione

The Castello di Magione, west of Perugia, dates from around 1150, beginning as a shelter built by the Knights Hospitallers for travellers on the pilgrim routes between Compostella, Rome and Jerusalem.  Defensive fortifications were added later, when the building was enlarged, first in 1367 and then again in 1471, in response to the turbulent nature of central Italian geo-politics in the 14th and 15thcenturies.  The Magione estate today covers 1,325 hectares of agricultural land of which 30 hectares are planted with vines.  Several sections of the estate are covered by a cabreo – a map and inventory of its many constituent parts drawn up in the 19th century – the estate archives hold an extraordinary collection of these remarkably detailed documents.  Where appropriate, the Magione wines take their names from their historic cabreo.  The vineyards are planted on the slopes facing towards Lake Trasimeno; the microclimate here is especially good, with the influence of the lake tempering the heat of the Umbrian summer.  The estate has benefitted from the construction of a fabulous, genuinely state-of-the-art (an otherwise much over-used phrase) new winery which was opened on 5th September 2009, in time to receive the 2009 harvest.

 
Magione
2011 Vin Santo, Castello di Magione x 6 50cl bottles
 2017-2021
 6 50cl Bottles
£91.00
£120.00
A blend of Grechetto and Trebbiano (50/50) picked at the end of September and left to dry for 5 to 6 months on rush matting in the lofts of the Castello prior to pressing. Rich amber colour. Honeyed raisin scents. Full and incredibly complex on the palate. Tremendous balance and great length. Extraordinary. 

Luca Roagna

 
image domain
2016 Derthona Montemarzino, Timorasso, Luca Roagna x 6
 2019-2022
 6 Bottles
£300.00
£376.20
 

Castello di Argiano

Giuseppe-Maria and Sarah Sesti own this sublime 102 hectare estate, Castello di Argiano, in the hills south of Montalcino, overlooking the Orcia valley.  There are 9 hectares of vines, with the rest of the estate a mixture of olive groves, grazing and woodland.  The Castello is a 12th century hilltop fortification occupying a site first settled by Etruscans, then by Romans and then by Cistercian monks sent from the nearby abbey of San Antimo.  It is the Cistercians’ 9th century oratory which still stands at the heart of the hamlet, dominated by the tower built to keep watch over this important strategic site on the southern marches of the old republic of Siena.  Sesti began planting vines in the early 1990s, and over the last 15 years has established a strong reputation for the outstanding quality of his wines.  Everything here is run strictly according to the influence of lunar phases, reflecting Giugi’s other great area of expertise – astronomy.  Their daughter Elisa, was born at Argiano and educated in Italy and England.  In 1999 she returned to Argiano where she is now co-director, and involved in all aspects of running the estate.

http://www.sestiwine.com/

 
Lemon blossom at Argiano
Olive Oil, Sesti, Castello di Argiano 6 x 50cl
 
 6 50cl Bottles
£117.50
£141.00
 

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