Recommendations

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New World Chardonnay never used to be the most appealing of wine to me. Too often I found it over-oaked, blandly buttery and lacking any real individual character.

This is, of course, nonsense.

The truth of the matter is that Chardonnay is not a grape that takes to skimping on quality lightly. If you really want to experience what this wonderful grape is truly capable of, you must be willing to part with a little more cash than you might be used to for a New World wine.

Catena Alta Chardonnay – from Argentinian maestro Nicolás Catena – is a prime example of what can be accomplished with South American Chardonnay.

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A co-operative of thirty farms, Cantine Leonardo da Vinci was established in 1961 – at the time only selling wine by the barrel. In 1971 they launched two bottles: the white, Collebello, has since been confined to the annuls of history, however the red, Leonardo Chianti, is still going strong.

Though the stated blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% “other red grapes” may be a tad non-specific – don’t be deterred by the poor choice of wording on the label.

Initially, rich and silky red in the glass – light reveals a clear, intensely bright colour. On the nose, plenty of fresh dark cherries, mixed with spice and a touch of pepper.

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Just for a moment, let’s pretend that the summer sun is more than just a mere memory. Here’s an extraordinarily fruity Sicilian red that makes for excellent summer drinking – Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

The first and only D.O.C.G. in Sicily – Cerasuolo di Vittoria has somewhat of a reputation for standing out from the crowd. With it’s uniquely vibrant colour, perfume and taste.

A classic blend of native Sicilian grapes – Nero d’Avola and Frappato – Cerasuolo di Vittoria positively screams ripe fruit at you from the glass. Waves of glorious cherries fill your nose and continue across your tongue, complimented by Read the rest of this entry »