Chris is currently doing a whistle-stop tour around Italy investigating some new wines and wineries, following his struggles in leaving London on Tuesday, here are some further musings upon the trip, currently in the Veneto...
"After 33 years in the wine trade I have been fortunate to visit many of the worlds finest wineries together with a handful, the memories of which cause my blood to go cold. However, regardless of the quality of the wine, the one thing guaranteed to send a chill down ones spine is the comment from ones host "now we shall go and look at our bottling line". You can understand their logic I suppose, they have spent hundreds of thousands of euros, dollars, pesos etc on a facility that ensures that all their hard work in the vineyards and cellars has not been in vain and it is clearly important for you to see that. Whatever. Anyway, before we got to see any vineyards or taste any wine with our first hosts of the day, Mabis, we were taken to their bottling hall where, over the din our charming host, Martini Biscardo, advised us that this was a very special bottling facility - I never did establish quite why.
Anyway, after such an inauspicious start we were almost quivering with excitement as to what might come next. A tasting of quite garishly labelled, frizzante, "bisecco" wines was the answer. In fairness they weren't bad but I'm not convinced they are what we are looking for. Thereafter things improved immeasurably; a Pinot Grigio/Pinot Nero blend was just beautifully balanced with real elegance and finesse whilst a trio of reds from their Puglian operation were just outstanding - Negroamaro, Primitivo and a Salice Salentino all bursting with personality and character and, as we agreed at the time, phenomenal value.
To conclude, we were treated to a quite delicious ripasso and an Amarone which seriously overdelivered. I cannot wait for our first shipment and it was certainly worth the bottling line experience!"