Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

All that sparkles may not be gold….

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

ortrugo_framed_smProsecco: like an overgrown garden riddled with ivy, is everywhere. Everyone wants it, everyone is selling it but it’s caught what I call Pinot Grigio syndrome: an affliction that affects the cost of a bottle but not the quality.

Remember when Pinot Grigio was the cheapest white in the bar? And Prosecco the cheapest sparkling? Well, they too often taste as such but have a look next time you’re out and about, I bet you’re paying third or forth position prices on the wine list, si? The prices won’t come down, of course, but my gut and my purse tells me that given time all that sparkles may not just be Prosecco.

If you’re wondering what to turn to for a thoughtful alternative then stay in Italy, in the Emilia Romagna region to be precise, and look no further than Bonelli’s Ortrugo 2013, a frizzante style of fruity, summery, elderflowery goodness. At £12.95 from Park & Bridge you’d do well to grab a bottle and drink to the future of Italian sparkling wine. 

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Know it all white…

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

This is one for the wine know-it-all in your life. Everyone has one, I am it amongst my friends and family and I would be lying if I pretended that until recently I’d barely come across a bottle of this curious Italian white grape. Falangina, which sounds like a cross between something a bit saucy and a bottle of Orangina is in fact nothing to do with either, I’d describe it as a cross in flavours between a Viognier and a Chardonnay. Typically it is aromatic and can come in the form of a food wine or a quaffer. The foodie Falangina’s are rich, opulent and textured in the same way that most whites from Alsace are and the quaffers are lighter and fresh but still perfumed.

Hailing from Italy Falangina is always a little unusual, interesting and full of character and handily you can find them at an array of price points. There’s a great one for foodies from Harvey Nichols which is on the brink of release but to whet your appetite until then try this budget friendly, quaffing option from The Coop. Rocca Vecchia Falanghina 2012 from Puglia, £6.99. Think refreshing, apricot, honeysuckle and blossom. Serve chilled. Now you know it all.

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The High Street Edit…. The Coop

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts but when it comes to wine the first taste of most bottles we buy is with our eyes. For me there is no denying that the label, bottle, closure and price all contribute to my first impressions and overall enjoyment of a wine but with the exception of the Harpers Design Awards, which judges wines on initial impact and overall aesthetics, even the most respected wine competitions are held blind which means judges are critiquing wines using a system completely alien to the reality of actually buying bottle..

What we need is a half way house; ………

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The last of the summer wine….

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

pink stripes cropped2The last of the summer wine…. is it that time of year already? My bikini has yet to see the light of day & my consumption of rosé hasn’t peaked since Christmas, yet the *crunch* of pink screwcaps opening, which has long signalled the sound of the summer wine, has been unusually quiet this season. Surprisingly though I’ve realised I’ve not actually missed it.

Amongst the wine trends I’ve been enjoying over the last few weeks – including a renewed interest in chilling red wine (hands up those that heard me on the radio talking about that one?!) and the rise and rise of the delicious wines of Portugal (more on that next time) – a general nonchalance towards the nations favourite summer wine had passed me by. ………

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To BYO or not to BYO, that is the question…..

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

EpsilonI’m all for enterprising new wine ventures but since when did BYO become serious? The Bring Your Own Wine Club launched a couple of months ago, you may have heard about it they got a slot on the BBC news. The concept is simple, the founders have;

partnered with many of London’s best restaurants — all of whom otherwise prohibit BYO or normally charge a hefty corkage fee — to offer wine lovers the privilege of bringing their own special bottles to accompany their meals for no or reasonable corkage fees.” (

Hmmmm, another elitist wine related company, just what we need.

For me BYO exists to fill a need that’s the exact opposite of what the BYO Wine Club has established. It means you can treat yourself to a good bottle of wine, some good food and get out of doing the dishes, wouldn’t you say? In fact I think Britain could do with a few more BYO restaurants for exactly that reason, not so some Champagne Charlie has the chance to try an overpriced bottle of Bordeaux Daddy bought en primeur… Oh and did I mention the £99 annual membership fee? What’s that you say Mr.BYOwineclub? You’d like me to pay you to have the privilege of opening my own wine in a restaurant that isn’t even yours? Really??

Non, I don’t think so. ………

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Pink wines style it out….

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

glasses of rose_croppedI’m fresh back from Milan, the city of fashion, food, and fabulous weather. Have you been? It’s a place where brands rule and paupers drool. Prada, Missoni, Ferrari…. there’s temptation at every corner!

I was amazed at how quickly we acclimatised to the local way of life. Fresh pasta, authentic pizzas, and gelato felt like second nature after our first lunch and our afternoons quickly became structured around the Milanese institution that is aperitivo hour as soon as the clock strikes 6pm.

Yes, everything to do with London became a distant memory the minute Milan’s summer sun hit our shoulders. Everything that is except for the rosé. In London when the sun comes out sales of rosé wine peak along with burger buns and BBQ sauce. Not so in Milan, it’s red, white or limoncello it seems. We hunted high and low, from traditional trattorias to curb side cafés, from pizzerias to fancy Milanese bars, hell we even ventured to the Bulgari Hotel, all in the name of research you understand! ………

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