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.
Featured Wine: Francone Barbaresco DOCG Gallina Cru
“Exclusive to the UK, this Barbaresco is typical of one of Italy’s greatest wines – characteristically refined, concentrated and deep – with classic flavours of rose, liquorice, clove and leather. It’s toe-curling stuff and even better if you’ve got the patience to age it for 20 years.”
Featured Wine Set: Collezione Nera
“This collection of smooth, deep, velvety and ultra-tannic wines made from traditional Italian grapes is covetable, to say the last. While it’s not a snip at just under £100, it’s proof that you certainly get what you pay for in life, each bottle sourced from some of the Boot’s best boutique wineries and presented in a chic wooden gift box.
In summary: there’s a dark and mellow one; a big, bold one; and a powerful and silky one. A wine for all occasions – and, indeed, all palates – if you will.”
Featured Wine: Fratelli Pardi “Sacrantino” Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2016
“Serious money for a serious wine from an Italian winery that’s more than a century old….Aged in Austrian oak barrels for 24 months followed by 9-12 months in steel, the bottled wine remains for 12 months in the cellar.
The end result is a bold and complex wine with flavours of blackberry, damson and dark fruit, complemented by woody notes and hints of herb and spice. It’s not your everyday tipple but one that should make a special occasion even more memorable.”
Siobhan Grogan: 9 best proseccos to add some sparkle to your next soirée – from supermarket bottles to vegan fizz
“Prosecco is not always the cheaper option and a more expensive bottle is worth the splurge if you’re celebrating. This single vintage DOCG prosecco from the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is as good as any champagne and has the awards to prove it, having won countless bronze, silver and gold medals at wine competitions around the world.
Drier than many proseccos we tested, it’s truly delicious, with a wonderfully clean taste, a bright acidity, velvety mouthfeel and a light body, which means it’s perfect as an aperitif with canapes or charcuterie.”
Siobhan Grogan: 10 best pink champagnes, proseccos and sparkling wines for Valentine’s Day (and beyond)
Featured Wine: Ca’ di Rajo rosé brut prosecco Treviso DOC millesimato 2019
“Pink prosecco may not yet be as wildly popular as the usual white version but this one definitely makes it worth making the switch.
Light and balanced, it’s created from glera and pinot noir grapes from the village of Rai, 30 miles north of Venice, and has already picked up awards, including a bronze medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021.”
Featured Wines: “Queen of Wines” Decanter Medal-winning Barbaresco Gift Set
“It doesn’t get much more luxe than this wine gift set, featuring Barbaresco wines, AKA ‘the queen of wines’, made from the Nebbiolo grapes of Italy. Each one of these three wines has been awarded a medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards, which are pretty much the Oscars of the wine world. This would make a very special Christmas gift for a loved one who likes a high-quality tipple.”
“There are times when a big occasion – a wedding anniversary, a christening, a special birthday – calls for a big wine. And this one fits the bill admirably.
The verdicchio grape is grown mainly in Marche in Italy. It’s where, in the Castelli di Jesi wine region, winemaker Gianluca Mirizzi selects, only in the best years, the small bunches of verdicchio grapes that go towards this spectacular wine. After gentle pressing, the juice is fermented at a controlled temperature of 12-18C with indigenous yeasts. The wine is then aged for one year in 8,000l concrete vats. Finally, it matures for a huge 48 months in the bottle, which takes the overall ageing period to five years.
What you’re left with then is a golden-hued, multi-layered and full-bodied wine that has complex flavours of apricot and almonds with hints of pepper and honey and a long and luxurious finish. It’s already won a raft of awards and it’s hard not to see why.”
“Meaning, “a little bitter” a good Italian amaretto shouldn’t be too sweet. Enter the gorgeous Villa de Varda. This small-batch tipple is made with hand-harvested almonds from the protected forests of Trentino, whereas other amarettos are often made with apricot or peach kernels. Just take one sip, and you’ll be able to tell the difference.“
“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.“
Tasted by James Button: “A lifted, lemony floral nose with a silky, creamy mouthfeel showing some delicate hints of green fruit, white flowers and pithy citrus; even some almond. There’s a persevering sweetness balanced by fresh acidity running through the core.“
Tasted by James Button: “Warm, spicy, earthy red fruit scents with a lick of cream. Mouthfilling and creamy with ripe red fruits, it has some peppery spice and apple in the background. It has a very definite rosé character and that Pinot Noir is clearly making itself heard. Good texture and balance.“
“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.“
“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.“
“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 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 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.“
“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 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.“
“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.“
“Elegant, supple Italian red that would be great with a ragu or grilled meat.“
“…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.”
“…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.”
“…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.”
“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.“
“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.“
“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…“
“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.“
“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“
“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…“
“…the exotically fruited, multilayered Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva Giatl, Alto-Adige 2017 (£24.45, independent.wine) are every bit as full of character as the best pinot gris or grauburgunder.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.“
“…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.“
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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