(2020) Who doesn't love a wine like this occasionally? Is it red or rosé? Well, that's a moot point but it's nice to include this cherry-pink wine here as it certainly captures the summery spirit of rosé wines. This Piedmont wine is gently sparkling and off-dry, a counterpoint to the low alcohol Moscatos of the region with only 7% abv. Made from the Brachetto grape grown in the town of Acqui Terme, the wine is stored 0°C in Banfi’s 19th century cellars. It is frothy and offer a gorgeous pot-pourri of liquidised strawberry, pepper and sherbet with a touch of dark chocolate to boot. Mouthfilling, creamy and sweet, that pulpy strawberry sundae sweetness is balanced by just the right level of acidity and a hint of stemmy earthiness, into a long finish. Perfect summer in garden stuff.
(2020) From one of the biggest names of Barolo and Barbaresco, but here turning his hand to the more humble Docletto, but still a serious interpretation that spends 12 Months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Really vibrant, deep purple in colour, the nose is highly aromatic, lifted, violet-touched and elegant, but with a core of juicy blueberry and ripe plum, a hint of Amarena cherries and some depth of cocoa too. In the mouth it is smooth, ripe and full of wonderfully bittersweet flavours, the agile acidity and taut tannins giving a bit of authority, but the sweet-fruited joy of the wine always threatening to break free. Given the heritage I am sure this will cellar for a few years too.
(2019) A single estate wine made from the Cortese grape, this comes from Banfi's vineyards in Piedmont. It's a gentle wine, opening with soft and discreet notes of yellow plum and pear, a touch of lime perhaps. In the mouth there's a sweet concentration of fruit, and a very good, vibrant, tangy bite of juicy lime fruit and acidity, a touch of green apple too into a lingering, fruit-dominated finish. I was given an RRP of £17.99 for this, but at its sub-£15 price it's a better proposition.
(2019) While Nebbiolo is the easy answer to 'what is Piedmont's greatest red wine grape', Nascetta has begun to slug it out with Gavi and Arneis as cream of the white wine crop. Aged six months in older oak barrels, this majors on fresh and very subtly floral aromatics, nutty apple and a barrel-derived creaminess. Quite full-bodied and rich on the palate, there's good concentration here, perhaps a little reminiscent of a Rhône white - a Roussanne/Marsanne blend maybe, generous, fat fruit and acidity, but that nutty, creamy texture extends to the finish, dry mineral and apple core acidity balancing very nicely.
(2018) A vert nice Nebbiolo this, from the Langhe in Piedmont, aged for one year in larger barrels and bursting with deep black and red fruits, giving both savoury depth and bright, even lightly floral notes. It is sweet and svelte on the palate, tasting youthful and as if it could well cellar nicely for a few years, it has a liquorice stripe of bittersweet concentration and acidity, but the plush tobacco underpinnings give it some breadth and depth.
(2018) Made from the Moscato grapes with fermentation stopped so that plenty of sweetness remains, this is a frothy, fun, not too serious low-alcohol wine that's the perfect antidote to too much Christmas indulgence: with only 7.5% alcohol it is light as a feather, and though a mass-produced version of a style made in various guises by top artisan producers of the Asti area in Piedmont, this version from the giant Martini label is really very good. It hits all the icing sugar and peachy fruit notes well, aromatic with elderflower and fresh grapes, the frothy mousse is lively, and it has just enough acidity to counter the full-on sweetness. To sip on its own, with delicate desserts, or even to finish off the mince pies it might just work well.
(2017) The wine pours a healthy colour: the semi-transparency of the variety and just a little tinge of brick suggesting it has spent considerable time in cask. The aromas are firm and spicy with savoury berry fruit, a touch of green/earthy character, but really quite inviting. The palate has that firmness and tight character too: some cheaper Barolo wines are fading after too long in wood, but not this: the tannins are grippy and quite sandy, the acidity is tight and the fruit, whilst not massively rich, does have a bit of juiciness giving the whole wine a savoury, umami appeal.
(2016) Always delightful, Torelli's classic Moscato d'Asti is only softly effervescent and has such charming sweetness, feather-light and yet full to the brim of bursting fresh pear flavour. A summer stunner and so, so easy to drink.
(2016) This spumante is a blend of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir from the Piemonte and the Oltrepò Pavese regions.Apples, flowers and fresh cut lemon aromas then a palate showing a hint of toast and also a hint of sweetness, decent with a touch of sherbet vivaciousness towards the finish. Easy drinking fun in the Prosecco style.
(2015) Giacosa Along with Barolo, Barbaresco is the other 'great' wine of Piedmont, and this is a typically fresh and vital interpretation from Giacosa. Lots of cherry and bold floral and juicy red fruits, a wisp of smoke and hints of exotic incense, the nose is velvety but hugely fresh. On the palate such a gorgeous concentration without extraction. Its dry tannin structure suggests great youth and great potential, but the length and precision has chocolate and ripe plum lushness too. A 20-year wine potentially normally sold only in cases of six, and on allocation.