Discovery Tasting: Tua Rita

15 June, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm BST

The famous cellars where Redigaffi are aged at Tua Rita

Tua Rita was founded in 1984, with Rita and Virgilio Bisti recognised as among the earliest ‘Super Tuscan’ producers. Nestled on the slopes of the ‘metalliferous hills’ of the Maremma, an area known as the Val di Cornia in the coastal region of Tuscany.

Tua Rita is a benchmark for winemaking in the region and has gained a reputation for producing some of the most iconic Italian wines. The original plot of 2Has has now grown to 30Has where they have carved out a reputation for being some of the best producers of Cabernet and Merlot in Tuscany. Tua Rita gained cult status in Italy and around the world with the famous Redigaffi, which has won praise from the world’s most famous wine critics and sommeliers – this was the first Italian wine to win an 100 point score from barrel from the inimitable Robert Parker with the 2000 vintage. Today, they continue to innovate, championing Syrah and amphora-aged wines.

Tua Rita’s wines command great respect, as do the family’s tradition of meticulous winemaking and vine growing practices, coupled with their modesty and attention to detail. This is very much a family concern with management of the estate passing to the founders’ daughter and her husband Stefano Frascolla, who will be joining us to explain these fabulous wines.

Three generations of Super Tuscan winemaking

Join us on the 15th June, showcasing the whole range of wines, including icon Rosso di Notri and Giusto di Notri, their new amphora-aged Syrah Keir, and an older vintage of the famous Redigaffi. It’s a fabulous line of stunning wines and a rare chance to taste the best of Italian winemaking today.

The wines to be tasted in this session

  1. Rosso dei Notri  2019
  2. Perlato del Bosco 2017
  3. Syrah Keir 2017
  4. Giusto di Notri 2018
  5. Redigaffi 2010
  6. Sese 2017

Webinar Regsitration

This webinar and tasting takes place at the same time as Discovery Tasting: Rias Baixas – please apply for either session, not both.

Tasting samples

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POLITE NOTICE TO ALL

We understand you have work commitments and may, at the very last minute, not be able to join the webinar. Please do try to let us know in advance because the winemakers will be expecting you.

Tasting kits are very popular. We give priority to new members and those who have not yet received one of these fabulous FREE tasting kits. Every member is eligible to apply for a tasting kit, and there are hundreds of you now – so please do not be disappointed if you don’t get a set of wines on this occasion. We have plenty more tastings planned and we will ensure everyone gets their fair share (we have a lovely excel spreadsheet keeping track of all requests – so you won’t be overlooked!).

Discovery Tasting: Querciabella Super Tuscan

It’s not often that you get to taste a range of wines form a Super Tuscan producer but we were lucky enough to get the main man from Querciabella, winemaker Manfred Ing, to show us his wines with a little help from his colleague Giorgio Fragiacomo.

The Querciabella vineyards in Tuscany

Querciabella has to be one of the most famous wine names in Tuscany. They’re one of the original Super Tuscan producers having first released their flagship wine Camartina in 1982. With some of the highest vineyards in Chianti, from the outset they were committed to producing a more elegant, terroir-focused wine than their contemporaries: the Burgundy to Bolgheri’s Bordeaux.

In Chianti, the vines run across the communes of Greve, Radda, and Gaiole. Their wines are a mosaic of different micro-plots – sometimes a single row – all harvested and vinified individually under the expert guidance of winemaker Manfred Ing. Alongside their land in the heart of Chianti Classico, Querciabella also established plots in Maremma on the Tuscan coast in 2000, and today they represent the largest holdings of certified vegan and organic vineyards in Italy.

Site selection is crucial to the style of the wines and is testament to the care and attention to detail employed by Manfred and his team.

“I talk about wines in terms of colours. People may laugh but it is the light and the dark and the textures that you get from each row, each plot that make the wine what it is.” He adds, “Bringing all those colours together is how we construct the nuances of the fruit and terroir in each bottle.”

Manfred Ing, winemaker, Querciabella

Sustainability has always been at the heart of Querciabella – working with organic methods since 1988 and certified in 2000, biodynamic practices since 2000, and 100% vegan since 2010. Today, they practice a unique form of plant-based biodynamics that is tailored specifically to their location and style. It’s all about biodynamics and vegan wines here.

It made a change to have a South African, Manfred, and an Australian, Giorgio, presenting such quintessentially Italian wines but their knowledge shone through. A quick trot round the vineyard before the tasting with Manfred gave us a great feel for the height of the vineyards and the variety of plots and soil types in the immediate area. This is Tuscany at its best.

The Wines

Chianti Classico 2017

“A declassified Chianti Riserva” according to Fragiacomo. Made from 100% Sangiovese this wine was first made in 1974, went organic in 1988 and biodynamic in 2000. It’s aged for 12 months in extra fine grained French oak barrels. The 2017 vintage was one of the driest on record in the region and the scarcity of rain, a cold winter, and a long, hot summer limited bunches and berries development. The high skin-to-juice ratio of the berries and ripe tannins made it a fine start for elegant wines of tension and structure.

Chianti Classico Riserva 2016

If the first wine was a declassified Riserva then this Riserva has to one of the best on the market. Spending 16 months in French oak, here the site selection becomes more important. The 2016 vintage was marked by a damp winter and cool spring but the almost perfect ripening conditions were supported by significant diurnal temperature variation that allowed for great phenolic maturation while preserving bright fruit flavours and zesty acidity.

Turpino 2017

A powerful blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot this wine comes from the Maremma region, exclusively from the Alberese and Grosseto vineyard. Classified as an IGT to avoid the restrictive DOG rules, the Turpino shows the magnificent potential of this little known region squashed between Tuscany and the sea. Dry and hot, 2017 yielded a powerful wine which has been aged in fine grained oak for 16 months.

Camartina 2016

The original Super Tuscan from Querciabella, this is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese, first made in 1981. The meticulous selection in the different vineyards and the winery, the galestro soils and the careful ageing for 18 months (30% new) make this a stunning wines in anyone’s book. The cooler vintage conditions make it a touch more reserved but still powerful and able to age for decades.

Camartina 2003

It was a privilege for our members to taste an older wine and with nearly 20 years on this one you can really see the potential of these wines. Fine, integrated and supple, the complexity of the different terroirs really are a treat. 2003 was a hot, dry vintage and you can taste the sun in this wine but the diurnal variation gives it a linear acidity, and the fruit still shines despite the wine’s age. A true example of Super Tuscan class.

Batàr 2017

Possibly one of the best white wines to come out of Tuscany. A legendary blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco. This was a rare chance to taste a stunning wine (once called Batard, but the EU put a stop to that!) which has been vinified since the late 1980’s. The Chardonnay is produced in the characteristic galestro soils which give the wines it’s famed flintiness and precision. The Pinot Bianco north-facing plots with heavier clayey components give the wine a delicious rich texture. Maturation on the lees for 9 months in oak brings structure and toastiness but the fruit is still predominant. What a treat!

Shipped into the UK by Armit Wines. Find out more at www.armitwines.co.uk and http://www.querciabella.com

Watch the video

Discovery tasting: Querciabella

17 May, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm BST

Querciabella has to be one of the most famous wine names in Tuscany. One of the original Super Tuscan producers having first released their flagship wine Camartina in 1982.

The Sommelier Collective has secured a fabulous tasting with winemaker Manfred Ing, winemaker and director Giorgio Fragiacomo straight from the tasting room at their estate, including an exclusive first tasting of the new Camartina 2016.

With some of the highest vineyards in Chianti, from the outset they were committed to producing a more elegant, terroir-focused wine than their contemporaries: the Burgundy to Bolgheri’s Bordeaux.

In Chianti, the vines across the communes of Greve, Radda, and Gaiole, their wines are a mosaic of different micro-plots – sometimes a single row – all harvested and vinified individually under the expert guidance of winemaker Manfred Ing. Alongside their land in the heart of Chianti Classico, Querciabella also established plots in Maremma on the Tuscan coast in 2000, and today they are the represent the largest holdings of certified vegan and organic vineyards in Italy.

Sustainability has always been at the heart of Querciabella – working with Organic methods since 1988 and certified in 2000, biodynamic practices since 2000, and 100% vegan since 2010. Today, they practice a unique form of plant-based biodynamics that is tailored specifically to their location and style.

Hosts

Join winemaker Manfred Ing and Export Director Giorgio Fragiacomo in exploring their fascinating wines.

Manfred Ing, winemaker, Querciabella
Giorgio Fragiacomo, export director, Querciabella

Join us on Monday 17 May at 4pm to experience some truly mind-blowing wines.

Wines to be tasted

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Delivery details for tasting samples

SORRY, all tasting kits have been snapped up already for this event.

Please note: wine samples are available for only 30 members. If you have been allocated tasting samples you will be contacted by email with delivery details.

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POLITE NOTICE TO ALL
PLEASE SUBMIT ONLY ONE FORM PER TASTING.

Tasting kits are very popular. We give priority to new members and those who have not yet received one of these fabulous FREE tasting kits. Every member is eligible to apply for a tasting kit, and there are hundreds of you now – so please do not be disappointed if you don’t get a set of wines on this occasion.
We have plenty more tastings planned and we will ensure everyone gets their fair share (we have a lovely excel spreadsheet keeping track of all requests – so you won’t be overlooked!).

Trailblazing tasting with Fattoria le Pupille

It’s not often you have a chance to meet and taste with a winery that pioneered a whole region. But that’s what our members got to do when they joined up with Fattoria le Pupille this month.

People were, of course, growing grapes in this south-western corner of Tuscany when Elisabetta Gepetti took over the family estate in 1985, but fruit was just sold on to big national producers; nobody was making estate wine. But she trailblazed a whole new way of thinking, making the Maremma one of the most exciting, dynamic – and affordable – regions in Italy over the last 30 years.

Elisabetta’s children Clara and Ettore, who are now also firmly ensconced in the winery, talked us through the basics of the Maremma.

The first key point, they said, is that it is quite hilly, with many different aspects and microclimates – which makes it different from Bolgheri to the north. You’ll see that from the pictures in this article.

Elisabetta Gepetti with children Ettore and Clara

But the influence of the sea, they said, ‘is really what makes the wine special’. There is, of course, plenty of Tuscan sunshine, but as Clara pointed out, ‘We always have wind blowing. You never feel that really exhausting heat that you can get in places like Chianti and Florence.’

The sea is a key element in the style of Maremma’s wines

Let’s begin

Poggio Argentato Bianco 2019

The indigenous whites in this area are Vermentino (‘not really our style’ said Ettore) and Ansonica, which was abandoned until ten years ago.

As a result the winery’s signature white wine is a really unusual four-grape blend of French varieties – 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Petit Manseng, and then roughly equal measures of Traminer and Semillon.

Key to the wine, Ettore suggests, is the Petit Manseng. ‘Its acidity is really incredible. It’s hard to manage the ripening. It gets to 14.5% abv easily, but the grapes still don’t look or taste ripe. It’s only when you analyse them in the winery you realise they are ready for harvesting.’

‘Really bright and fresh!’ said Emma Denney from Davies &  Brook. ‘Lovely as an aperitif or with a summer garden salad or scallop crudo.’

£11.80 ex VAT

Other members felt the wine would be excellent with oysters, salad with an acidic dressing and parmesan ravioli with white wine emulsion and purple artichoke.

Rosamati 2020

Rosé has become more important to Fattoria le Pupille over the last couple of years, favouring a 100% Syrah over Sangiovese because of its sweeter tannins.

‘This is a wine made inside the press,’ said Ettore. ‘But it’s a really soft press and we don’t start it until the juice has stopped dripping out. As soon as the colour starts to turn to a more intense colour, we stop and use the remaining must for other blends.’

‘Good for both terrace and food. I love this rosé!’ said Gymkhana’s Alexia Gallouet who, being from Provence, knows a good rosé when she sees it.

Hawksmoor’s Eleanora Kausinyte felt it was ‘elegant and savoury – a food wine!’ and other members agreed, with Gaucho’s Andres Sossa saying it matched ‘wonderfully’ with his lamb skewers during the tasting.

£11.60 ex VAT

Morellino di Scansano 2019

£10.80 ex VAT

Morellino is the local word for Sangiovese and this is a really important wine for Fattoria le Pupille. Their biggest production, and also the label for which they are best known.

It is, as Clara put it, ‘a classic Morellino’: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Alicante and 5% Ciliegiolo from one of the best vintages of the last 10 years.

‘Morellino is probably the hardest wine to make,’ said Ettore. ‘It needs drinkability, juiciness, a bit of structure, soft tannins but present.’

Versatility is the key to this wine – it’s the kind of wine that you’d reach for during the week whether you were having pasta, venison or burgers.

‘Duck all day with this,’ said Andres Ituarte of the Tamarind Collection, while others could see it working with turkey and even spicy food.

Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2018

£16.00 ex VAT

This is the first label the winery ever released. Now in its 40th vintage it is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and unlike the previous Morellino is designed for ageing.

‘We search for elegance from Sangiovese and power from the Cabernet,’ said Ettore. ‘They work well together in the ageing process.’ The Riserva is aged for one year at least in ‘botti’ of different sizes. But they are not looking for any overt wood influence.  

Condita’s Konstantinos Katridis saw this as working with ‘partridge, mushrooms, boudin noir every night!’ while Hawksmoor’s Bradley Tomlinson matched the wine to an entire scenario.

‘Silence.  A quiet room.  Solitude.  And then a friend strolls in with a plate of fennel salumi’.

Poggio Valente 2018

Our first and only 100% Sangiovese of the tasting, this wine comes from (and is named after) the same hill that creates their flagship Saffredi wine. Grown on sandstone soil, Ettore felt that this gives tannins that are ‘more gentle and silky, more fine. It gives wines that are elegant, not rich and austere.’

On a south-west slope, facing the ocean, the wind influence can be strong in this wine. But the slight complicating factor in this case was the atypically warm 2018 vintage, which saw temperatures during harvest in the low 30s.

‘It’s approachable now,’ said Ettore, ‘but it’ll close up for a year, because that happens with our wines in warmer vintages. They will come back in three years.’

Ettore suggested decanting the younger wines, but accepts that it’s a highly personal issue. Indeed, there was no consensus either between him and his sister (!) or the Sommelier Collective members, with decanting times ranging from ‘not at all’ to ‘half an hour’ and ‘two hours’!

The 2019 (a very good vintage) is due to be bottled shortly.

£24.50 ex VAT
Slopes and changing aspects can expose vineyards to varying degrees of sunshine and cooling sea breezes

Le Pupille Syrah 2015

This was the oldest dry wine of the tasting and really unusual. Clara’s pet project, it’s made of 100% Syrah, but from two different vineyards: one above the current estate, and one from where the winery first began.

But the big difference here, perhaps, is not so much the vineyards, as the winemaking: one wine is fermented in open tonneaux, while the other is fermented in hand-made 500-litre ‘orchi’ (earthenware jars).

‘Syrah easily goes into reduction, and we use these two techniques – open tonneaux and orchi – to try and avoid this,’ said Ettore. ‘Oak gives you a finer, more elegant wine, the orchi give you a more structured and wider wine.’

The two are then blended together, aged in 300-litre barrels for ten months, and aged in bottle for a further three years, to give a very different, less primary more textural style of wine.

‘I am opening my barbecue and you are all invited!’ said Condita’s Konstantinos Katridis. ‘Cote de boeuf like no tomorrow! Such a lovely wine.’

POA, arrives May

Saffredi 2018

£60 ex VAT

The winery’s flagship, this owes its existence to Clara and Ettore’s grandfather, who was one of the first to plant Cabernet in Tuscany, in 1980 at the suggestion of Italian uber consultant, Giacomo Tachis.

His intention was to blend it with Sangiovese but died the year the vineyard became productive, so didn’t get a chance to implement his plan. After tasting the Cabernet his daughter Elisabetta decided not to blend it, but to vinify and bottle it on its own, though she did name the wine after her father!

Down the years she’s planted more Bordeaux varieties and the 2018 (the 31st vintage) is a blend of 60% Cabernet, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. From the same sandstone soils as the Poggio Valente and a cool 10km from the sea, it’s a wine of length rather than sheer power, with red clay soils adding ‘a beautiful aromatic quality to the wine,’ according to Ettore.

‘The focus is to always to have elegance with power,’ he said. ‘You feel the tannins, but they don’t leave you with a dry mouth at all.’

With 18m in French oak, 70% of which is new, it has undoubted longevity, and a recent vertical tasting with top critics revealed that the early 90s wines were still showing beautifully.

‘This is a good competitor with other famous Super Tuscans for a more affordable price,’ said Zuma’s Vitaliy Yeresk’o

Berners Tavern’s Lorenzo Tonelli felt it was ‘closer to Napa rather than Bordeaux. The ripeness and woody tannins remind me of some wines from fresher areas in Napa valley.’

‘I like this comment,’ said Ettore. ‘This is the [impact of the] 2018 vintage… especially in its early phase, when you can smell a bit more of the oak. It can remind you of a Napa vintage. 2019 is more like a St Emilion.’

Solalto 2013

£12.30 ex VAT

Our final wine was a sweet wine – a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Semillon blend, from the same Poggio Argentato vineyard as the dry white.

With just 14g/litre of residual sugar, it was not especially sweet, and our tasters agreed with Ettore’s suggestion that it would be best with cheese, rather than desserts.

Though when pushed Clara suggested that Tuscan cantucci biscuits (again not too sweet) or ‘anything with ricotta cheese’ would be good matches too.

Either way, at £12.30 for a half bottle, it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a well-priced and not too sweet sticky for your list.

Fattoria Le Pupille’s wines are imported by Armit Wines

Fattoria le Pupille use a wide range of ageing techniques for their wines, with old and new oak, tonneaux, barriques, botti – and even clay ‘orchi’

Catch up, on-demand video

Discovery Tasting: Fattoria Le Pupille

12 April, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm BST

The first to produce a Super-Tuscan blend in the southern Maremma region, the highly-praised Saffredi, Fattoria le Pupille is synonymous with the Morellino di Scansano appellation.

The property boasts a unique location in the Southern Maremma, the only part of Tuscany to enjoy both coastal breezes and the altitude of rolling hills, resulting in an incredible freshness and elegance across all the entire range.

Elisabetta Geppetti was only 20 years old when she first took the reins of Fattoria le Pupille, and began building it into the world-renowned producer it is today. The second generation, her children Clara and Ettore, now help run the Estate and will guide us through their pioneering range of wines.

Hosts: Clara Gentili and Ettore Rizzi, family owners

The wines in this session

  1. Poggio Argentato 2019
  2. Rosamati 2020
  3. Morellino di Scansano 2019
  4. Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2018
  5. Poggio Valente 2018
  6. Saffredi 2018
  7. Le Pupille Syrah 2015
  8. Solalto 2008

UK importer: Armit Wines

Registration

This session will be video recorded and be available to watch by all members after the tasting. Details will be included in a forthcoming newsletter.

Delivery details for tasting samples

Please note: If you have been allocated tasting samples you will be contacted by email with delivery details. We have limited tasting kits available and these will be first allocated to members who have not yet taken part in a tasting.

The information you provide below is required for the courier company, please be accurate. Wines will arrive by APC Courier on the Friday before the session so please ensure someone is present at the address provided in order to receive the delivery. A text message will be sent to the mobile number you provide below to track the consignment. UK Mainland delivery only. Delays, loss and damages are beyond our control.

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Island jewel PANTELLERIA is no longer just about sweet wines

In the sea between Sicily and Tunisia, at the southernmost point of Italy, lies the island of Pantelleria.

Geographically, it’s closer to north Africa (Tunisia is 60km to the west) than it is to the rest of Italy, so it’s perhaps no surprise to discover that it has extremely long, hot and dry summers. Rainfall is about 300mm a year, with just 0.2mm of it falling in July.

In such arid conditions, vine growing is only possible at all thanks to morning dew and decent winter rains. Most of the production is focused on sweet wines, but there is more to it than this, as you will see.

Pantelleria is not large – just 80 square kilometres – and the vast majority of its vineyards are planted to Zibibbo, also known locally as Moscato D’Alessandria. Similar to Moscato Bianco (Muscat Blanc a Petite Grains) it is highly aromatic and with a medium acidity, which makes it well suited to the production of sweet wines. Closely related to table grapes it’s quite ‘grapey’ – with flavours of elderflowers, stone fruits, and sweet spices.

Although it is found dotted around other Italian Regions it probably shows its best in the Colli Euganei in the Veneto where it is used for another sweet appassito wine called Fior D’Arancio.

Two styles of sweet wines are produced on the island – Moscato di Pantelleria and Passito di Pantelleria.

For both the styles grapes have to be laid outside either in serre (glasshouses) which have to be ventilated, or without any covers, with is the traditional way of making the wines. This drying process concentrates the flavours and increases sugar levels.

For Moscato Di Pantelleria, grapes are dried for one or two weeks. For Passito di Pantelleria it can be upwards of a month.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to vinification for Passito di Pantelleria. The traditional method involves pressing of the dried grapes only, with gives wines with more syrupy prune-like aromas.

But some producers use a similar technique to Tokaji, where a base wine is made using non-dried grapes harvest and this is then macerated with the dried grapes. Introduced by Donnafugata in the 1980s, this technique adds both aroma and body, and gives fresher wine with more primary aromas.

Both techniques give wines that are opulent and very sweet, which makes them ideal for pairing with high-sugar desserts that would overpower most sweet wines.

I also find that Pantelleria wines have some sparse tannins, as the grapes are almost raisin-like and need quite hard pressing to extract the juice. This gives an extra dimension to the wines, adding a little astringency to balance the sweetness.

The Arrival of Dry and Natural

When it comes to allowing experimentation, Sicily is one of the most creative regions in Italy, so it’s no surprise that Pantelleria is no longer all about sweet wines.

Spurred on, no doubt, by the fact that the market for the latter is declining, for ten years or so, growers have started to produce more dry wines.

A range of Sicilian grapes are used for these, but Zibibbo is the most common and also, in my opinion, the best. Grapes are harvested when just ripe, at the end of August. 

The ‘natural’ movement is very active on the small island, with a growing number of amphora and ‘orange’ wines cropping up every year.

Zibibbo is really well suited to the latter, with a contrast between the sweet, exotic aromas on the nose and the very dry, lean palate.

The only downside is that they’re not cheap. Pantelleria is very small, so there are no economies of scale, and the climatic conditions mean that yields are naturally very low. Price-wise these are likely to appear in the upper middle section of the wine list.

On the plus side, this style works really well in pairing menus and by the glass. It’s different, surprising, and has a great story behind it.

Cellar suggestions: three to try for your list

Marco de Bartoli, Bukkuram Sole d’Agosto, Passito di Pantelleria, 2015

Les Caves de Pyrene £45+

Marco De Bartoli’s history is entwined with the history of modern Sicilian wines. From two wine producing families in Marsala, he returned to the region when he called time on his rally-driving career in the early 1980s. He, focused on low yielding Grillo, and high quality Marsala unheard of at the time and became the president of Sicilian wines for a couple of years before being mysteriously removed from his position. Nobody knows exactly why, but we can assume that his ideas where quite different to the rest of Sicilian producers at the time.

What he couldn’t achieve for Marsala, He did in Pantelleria, where he bought his second estate in 1989. He pushed to produce the highest possible quality sweet wines. Changing the way Pantelleria was going.

This is a prime example of the Passito di Pantelleria. Aged in very old barriques it is made in a sweet style with complex, chocolate, peach and mint aromas. It is best served alongside a chocolate mousse or a fondant.

Marco De Bartoli, Integer Zibibbo 2016

Les Caves de Pyrene £20-25+

Another offering from Marco De Bartoli. This time it’s a dry, skin-contact amphora-aged Zibibbo. The wines is  grapey, with aromas of nectarines and pear. A more mellow style than some skin-contact wines, it also has an unusually low alcohol level, thanks to the very early harvesting.

This works well as an aperitif or with starters of crudo.

Gabrio Bini,  Serragghia Bianco Zibibbo 2017

Tutto Wines £35-40

Serragghia is probably the most famous, natural style wine of Pantelleria. The vineyard is situated in close proximity to the sea enjoying almost constant sea breezes and temperatures are surprisingly moderate, even in the height of summer.

The eccentric, Gabrio Bini, moved from Milan to Pantelleria to be a winemaker, leaving behind his former architect career in the early 1990s. In 2000 he established his cellar, where no chemicals have ever entered. He does the least intervention possible in the vineyards.

A great example of the contrasting style between the aromatic intensity of Zibibbo and the drying influence of the amphoras that Gabrio buries in the depth of the cellar, this is a wine that has aromas of stone fruits and sage, with some saline notes.

The palate is bone dry with surprisingly strong tannins, which means that this can be served with monkfish or pork – just make sure that that the dish has plenty of flavour.

Learn more

Find out more about the traditional agricultural practice of cultivating head-trained bush vines on the island of Pantelleria.

Is this eco bottle the future of wine?

Could the sound of tinkling glass, of razor-sharp bottle shards in your hallowed outside space and of RSI from lifting cases of half-kilogram bottles into the cellar all become things of the past?

A UK company is hoping that its new Frugal Bottle – made entirely from recycled paperboard – means that they might.

The bottle, with labels, logos and images printed directly onto the board, has just become available in the UK. It contains a Sangiovese/Cabernet/Merlot blend from Cantina Goccia in Umbria and is on sale to restaurants from Hallgarten Druitt Novum Wines.

‘Innovation in sustainability is something the wine trade sorely needs and this packaging helps us in so many ways,’ said Jim Wilson, Portfolio Director at HDN Wines.

In case you’re wondering how ‘wine’ plus ‘cardboard’ is a good combination, rest assured that the bottle contains a neutral plastic liner to hold the liquid.

It can’t, clearly, be chilled in an ice bucket, but after cooling in the fridge stays colder for longer due to the insulating properties of the cardboard. After consumption, both elements are completely (and cheaply) recyclable.

The manufacturers estimate that the product’s carbon footprint is six times lower than that of a glass bottle – not least because it is so much lighter to transport. The bottle weighs in at just over 80 grammes, five times less than a glass equivalent.

All of which means that while it might not necessarily be a great fit for white tablecloth restaurants, it could be a good addition to more relaxed venues, where eco-friendliness is important to the customers.

And of course, it’s easier on your back as well…