In the news

Our wines tasted by some of the best British journalists

As UK specialists in premium Italian wines, we send our wines to some of the best wine journalists in the UK. They scan hundreds of wines, and we are delighted that wines from our portfolio feature in the news so often. You’ll find journalist reviews and tasting notes in the articles below.

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Joanne Shurvell: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: The Best Artisan Chocolates From Around The World

Villa de Varda Real Almond Amaretto Liqueur and Dark Chocolate Pralines with Grappa Cream

Hand-made pralines by the maître chocolatier of Villa de Varda are a delicious, boozy gift from an artisan grappa distillery in the Dolomite Alps. The pralines have a dark chocolate shell and are filled with a delicate and soft Grappa Riserva Triè-infused cream. They recommend enjoying them with a bottle of their smooth Amaretto liqueur, available as a set.

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David Williams: Port, sherry, whisky – Christmas drinks are all about the wood

Villa de Varda, Amaretto Liqueur made from Real Almonds

Not a product of wood-ageing, but a drink that is very much of the woods, a sweet but gloriously complex amaretto that is very far from the mass market norm thanks to its high-definition capture of the scents and flavours of almonds foraged in the forests of Alpine Trentino.

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David Williams: The 50 best wines for Christmas 2021

Le Morrete “Benedictus” Lugana DOC 2019

From vineyards around Lake Garda, this is a beautifully poised and harmonious dry white, bright and full, rounded and soft, with a restrained summer-garden floral scent and lovely fruit concentration. A stylish choice for the main Christmas Day event.

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Tom Mullen: A Trove Of Autumn Wines From France and Italy

Villa de Varda Amaretto Liquore. 94 points

This 28% alcohol amaretto is the color of bog water and golden syrup. Includes a delicious candy cane kick aroma—raisins, hibiscus, peppermint and maraschino cherries. In the mouth a chocolate mint layer cake, delicious as cotton candy and a complete dessert in itself. A complete treat.”

Villa de Varda. Pinot Nero Riserva. Grappa del Trentino

Villa de Varda in Trentino in northern Italy is run by fifth generation winemakers. This 40% alcohol grappa includes volatile aromas of baked apples and juicy ripe oranges. Also—slight honey and nutmeg. In the mouth—plums, oranges, anise, mint and a lasting, give-me-some-more finish. A hearty, layered grappa worth serving with a complex rum-based cake.

Le Morette. Valerio Zenato. Lugana Benedictus. DOC. 2019. 90 points

Le Morette is located in the Lake Garda region near the city of Verona in northern Italy. This white wine is made from high-acidity Turbiana (Verdicchio) grapes and includes aromas of heather, honey and cashews, as well as spearmint, eucalyptus and melted butter. It opens in the mouth as widely and generously as a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Gris and includes balanced acidity and flavors of pear and grapefruit with a little honey and sesame.

Le Morette. Lugana Riserva. DOC. 2018. 91 to 92 points

This 13.5% alcohol Trebbiano has a golden peach color. Sweet aromas of overripe pears, sultanas and prunes. The taste of honey and figs provide an opulent mouthful, with mature acidity. Pair with salmon doused with maple syrup or a flambé dessert.

Massimago. Marchesa Maria Bella. Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore. DOC. 2019. 92 points

Massimago winery is in the Valpolicella region near Verona, Italy. This is a light salmon/cherry colored 15% alcohol wine with initially volatile aromas that include lush peaches, cherries, anise, roasted almonds and orange rind. In the mouth—includes luscious tastes of tangerine, honey, lime, bitter cherries, lemon and eucalyptus. Superbly delicious as dessert unto itself as much as a wine. Refreshing.

Massimago. Conte Gastone. Amarone della Valpolicella. 2017. 89 points

This 15.5% alcohol Amarone includes aromas of treacle and brownies as well as orange rind and cinnamon. Succulently rich aromas resemble Maltesers chocolate balls. In the mouth—deliciously light, with a hint of menthol and sultanas. Tannins and acidity take a back seat to alcohol in this truly rotund mouthful of candied orange rind and mocha tastes. Pair with tiramisu. Or—considering the richness of this wine—pair as intuition guides you.

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Fiona Beckett: Heard it on the grapevine: can you discover something new with a wine subscription?

Ridolfi Rosso di Montalcino 2018 £20.20 Independent Wine, or as part of the monthly £149.50 wine club

Elegant, supple Italian red that would be great with a ragu or grilled meat.

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Terry Kirby: 10 best pinot noir wines: Refreshing reds perfect for sipping this autumn

Kurtatsch Mazon Pinot Noir Riserva Alto Adige DOC 2016, 13% , 75cl

“…This is as fresh as an Alpine stream, but gets added complexity from cave ageing in oak barrels. With gorgeous aromas of spices such as cinnamon and earthy fungal notes, hints of mint, a light to medium bodied mouthfeel, and cherry, raspberry and strawberry flavours this feels lively on the palate. It is perfect just lightly chilled with a plate of mixed charcuterie or some grilled fish, particularly seared tuna.”

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John Clarke: 10 best dry white wines for summertime sipping: From pinot grigio to chardonnay

Best Overall: Peter Zemmer “Giatl”, Pinot Grigio Riserva Alto Adige DOC

“…This award-winning example from winemaker Peter Zemmer is made from grapes hand-picked from the Giatl vineyard around the village of Cortina in northern Italy. Aromatic, with notes of passion fruit and elderflower, it bursts on to the tongue with a textured fruitiness balanced by a measured acidity. Pinot grigio has never tasted so good.”

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David Williams: The best southern Italian white wines

Salvatore Tamburello 204N Unfiltered Organic Grillo, Sicilia DOC

“…For my money, grillo’s the more interesting of that pair, and it jostles with the caricante found on Mount Etna for the title of Sicily’s best white grape variety. Like fiano and falanghina, it finds its way into plenty of pleasant if somewhat innocuous own-label bottlings. But it’s also responsible for evocative wines of real character, length and complexity. Look for the wines made by Marco de Bartoli (lescaves.co.uk), an estate in Marsala now run by the sons of the eponymous talented founder. Or this rippling, citrus-grove and blossom-scented white from Salvatore Tamburello.”

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Nicole Trilivas: The Best New Prosecco Rosés For Spring

Ca’ Di Rajo Prosecco DOC Rosé Treviso Millesimato Brut

Ca’ Di Rajo Treviso Prosecco DOC Rosé is like springtime in a glass with notes of freshly picked strawberries, rose petals and a balancing tang of pomegranate. Try this one with seafood. This slightly dry prosecco rosé comes from the versatile and family-owned Ca’ di Rajo winery with historic vineyards in the Piave area of the Veneto wine region. Ca’ di Rajo is available online with free delivery and free gift-wrapping at the leading Italian wine specialists, Independent Wines.

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Lottie Gross: 12 best Mother’s Day hamper baskets and gift boxes to spoil her with

Citrus and Spice: Gewürtztraminer and truffles gift set

“This wine and truffle set doesn’t come in a fancy box or case, but these high quality products speak for themselves. If your mum is a wine connoisseur, she’ll love this chocolate pairing. The golden Gewurtztraminer comes from South Tyrol in Italy and will transport you to the mountainous province with just one sip…The chocolates are made by Iain Burnett in the Scottish Highlands and come neatly packed in rows in a luxurious red box.

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Nicole Trilivas: Ring In The New Year With These 6 Italian Tipples

Ridolfi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 

Whether your New Year’s Eve dinner is canapés or a full-blown Italian-style cenone di Capodanno (New Year’s Eve feast) with all the trimmings, you’re going to need a wine that can stand up to all that rich food and strong flavors. Enter Tuscany’s boldest Sangiovese expression: Brunello di Montalcino…

Kurtatsch Brenntal Gewurztraminer Riserva 2017 

White wines from Alto Adige, in Italy’s German-speaking, high-altitude north, are becoming more and more popular around the world. For a luxe New Year’s Eve option, try the aromatic Kurtatsch Brenntal Gewürztraminer Riserva 2017, which Independent Wines calls “Italian Christmas in a glass” thanks to perfumed notes of honey and candied orange peel, evoking extravagant slices of panettone.

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Ines Salpico: Great weekend wines – festive edition

K Martini & Sohn, Alte Reben Weissburgunder, 2017

From one of the most northerly vineyard areas in Italy, this needs to be tried. Aromas of peach, lime, beeswax and white flowers lead to rich, intense, toasty flavours of juicy peach, mango, baked apple, gentle spices, and white grapefruit. Zingy acidity counteracts the rich yellow fruits and beeswax on the finish. Drinking Window 2020 – 2024

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Terry Kirby: The 12 reds of Christmas

Massimago “Marchesa MariaBella, Valpolicella Ripasso DOC

“Lighter but somehow even more penetrating and intensely fruity is the organic Marchese Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Organic 2017 (independent.wine), made in a sustainable winery with corvina, corvinone and rondinella using leftover grape skins from amarone wine in the “ripasso” method…

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David Williams: Pinot grigio or gris – what’s in a name?

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva Giati, Alto-Adige DOC 2017

“…the exotically fruited, multilayered Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva Giati, Alto-Adige 2017 (£24.45, independent.wine) are every bit as full of character as the best pinot gris or grauburgunder.”

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Giorgio Locatelli’s perfect Christmas recipes

Maturum Lagrein Riserva, Alto Adige, Italy 2017, Independent Wine

An elaborate recipe with a lot of flavours, richness and, this being duck, a certain amount of fat, calls for a wine with similar complexity and plenty of acidity. This Alpine red does both: a hit of vibrant black fruit, elegant floral notes, peppery spice, a hint of aniseed and great length.”

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Christmas Wine Gifts: Can you Put a Price on Love?

Francone Valsellera, Sparkling Rosé Brut NV, 100% Nebbiolo

In the bubbly department, the sparkling rosé made from Nebbiolo became the number one option for gifts. This wine is made from the same grape used to make Piedmont’s legendary red wines Barolo and Barbaresco, and it’s a fantastic fizz, made in the traditional method so it’s more similar to Champagne than Prosecco.”

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Tom Mullen: Try Sampling Wines From These Four Italian Regions

Peter Zemmer Riesling 2019, Alto Adige DOC

From a winery that has existed for over 90 years comes this Riesling with aromas of honey, green apples, lemon drops and even pine needles. In the mouth this is full and creamy with tastes of Bartlett pears, green apples, gooseberries and yellow plums. The racy acidity is slightly cloaked beneath a veneer of sweetness, and the length includes minerality.

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Terry Kirby: Eight more juicy reds for warm weather drinking

Rubinnelli Vajol Valpolicella DOC 2015

“…the Rubinnelli Vajol Valpolicella 2015, which is made from a corvina-dominated blend of local grapes, is in a totally different league. Again, a small boutique winery but a very different type of wine: light in colour and body, with dried cranberry and pomegranate flavours, a delicate touch of chocolate and a hint of pepper; really beguiling and interesting.

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David Williams: “Wine has a super power: it transports you to another time and place”

Francone Barbera I Patriarchi 2017

Star Buy. Francone I Patriarchi Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC, Italy 2017

Nebbiolo is the red Piedmont grape variety that is most famous for reflecting its terroir. This version of barbera, sourced from two south-facing vineyards, is so alluring, its deliciously tangy cherry and savoury notes taking you straight to the rolling hills around Alba.”

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