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Spectator Wine Club: A Tour of Italy

Spectator Wine Club: A Tour of Italy

Mixed Case | Italy | 75cl
  • White & Red Still
Regular price £186.00
Regular price £198.00 Offer price £186.00

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Italy’s victory over Scotland in last week’s Six Nations Rugby provoked much merriment in our house. Our Scottish chums watching with us were stunned into grumpy silence and the grumpier they got, the funnier this seemed. It took many bottles to restore their good humour.

Said bottles were all Italian, of course, courtesy of Honest Grapes, and here below are our collective favourites. Our multiple random chasers of single malt whisky, though, were neither big nor clever.

The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.
Jonathan Ray for the Spectator Wine Club

The 2022 Giuliana Vicini Pecorino (1) from Abruzzo, halfway between Pescara and Ortona, is a crisp, fresh, lively white made from 100 per cent Pecorino. This indigenous grape has nothing to do with the cheese of that name other than the fact that some locals reckon it’s so-called thanks to it being a favourite snack of the sheep (pecora in Italian) that used to graze hereabouts. Produced by Chiara Ciavolich, whose family have tended vines here for over 500 years, it’s hand-picked, steel-fermented and bottled unfiltered and makes a tasty choice for those bored by Sauvignon Blanc. £11.70 down from £12.70.

The 2022 Alcesti Edesia Grillo (2) from near Marsala, in the far west of Sicily, is another easy-going white perfect for spring. Made from old vine, organic Grillo, handpicked from two vineyard sites – one in the cool of the hills and one on the coast fanned by sea breezes – the wine has a delicious freshness to it, a hint of citrus and touch of garrigue herbs. £12.80 down from £13.80.

The 2022 Vette di San Leonardo Sauvignon Blanc (3) is bang on for those not bored by Sauvignon Blanc but who fancy a change from the more obvious examples. From an ancient, family-owned estate in the foothills of the Dolomites in Trentino, northern Italy (as is Wine 6), it’s wonderfully enticing with the elan of fine Sancerre and a liveliness which stops just short of the tropical exuberance associated with the Savvy Blancs of Marlborough, NZ. I really enjoyed it, especially its swirls of fresh and confit lemon, its grassiness and its savoury finish. £17.10 down from £18.10.

The 2022 Castello Sonnino Chianti Montespertoli (4) is brilliantly priced introduction to the smallest and most recent of all the official Chianti DOCGs, once part of the Colli Fiorentini region. Made primarily from Sangiovese, of course, the blend also includes small amounts of (red) Canaiolo and (white) Trebbiano but no oak, making it disarmingly approachable and forward. £14.40 down from £15.40.

2020 Castello Montespertoli Riserva (5) is the flagship wine of this gorgeous estate centred on a beautiful 16th century mansion and just 20 minutes from Florence. A blend of 80 per cent Sangiovese and 10 per cent each of Merlot and Cab Sauv, each variety is fermented separately before being blended and aged for 18 months in large old oak barrels. Full of ripe cherry fruit and a touch of spice, it’s just hitting its stride and is an absolute delight. £18.30 down from £19.30.

Finally, the wine of the offer, the 2019 Terre di San Leonardo (6) from the thousand-year-old estate currently celebrating 300 years in the hands of the Guerrieri Gonzaga family. Although just humble IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, the wines of Tenuta San Leonardo are beloved of those in the know, with the likes of Jancis Robinson, James Suckling and Nicolas Belfrage all praising them. JS even termed San Leonardo ‘the Sassicaia of the north’ and with reason, for their Bordeaux blends are truly fine (and a heck of a lot cheaper than those of Sassicaia). This, the estate’s second wine, is a blend of 50 per cent Cab Sauv, 40 per cent Merlot and 10 per cent Carménère made expressly for early drinking. Honest Grapes have long championed these wines and I’d be astonished if you didn’t love them too. £18.70 down from £19.70.

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