(2018) A highly unusual sparkling wine from Masi, masters of Amarone, who have used the same appassimento technique, drying grapes on straw mats, for the 25% Verduzzo in this blend, which is fermented along with 75% freshly-harvested Pinto Grigio. It's made by the charmat method as used in Prosecco, and has clear similarities to a good Brut Prosecco (this has around 9g/l of residual sugar), just a gentle effervesence and more of a herby and lemon peel grippiness on the palate, pear fruit and a bit of interesting texture too before a dry, nicely tart apple finish.
(2018) Like its Merlot partner, a handy 50cl bottle priced at £3.99. Garganega is the grape of Soave, and this comes from the Veneto region too. Pleasingly clean and fresh with a ripe pear succulence and decent acidity, it's a nicely balanced white with a bit of texture and a more or less dry, food-friendly finish. Watch the video for more information. Price for 50cl.
(2018) From the Venice area, Soave is one of the great names of Italian white wine, though the quality of what is produced can be variable. This, however, is a very nice example, a blend of 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano I guess it must have seen a little lees ageing to add a gentle mealy, mineral quality to cool citrus and orchard fruits, a touch of blossom, but a clean, agile palate with beautifully defined acidity. Another favourite in this crop of wines.
(2018) The DOC of Lugana is dedicated to the Trebbiano grape, making mostly still white wines as well as some sweet and sparkling variants. This is fruity and crisp, but with a nice bit of fat lemony fruit and acidity, moving into grapefruity tones and a touch of saltiness in the finish. It's a nice blend of generous texture and fruit and racy acidity.
(2018) Named after the castle of Castelrotto in Valpolicella, this is Corvina, dried for about 30 days, then after a long fermentation in Slavonian oak casks it is aged in small French oak barrels. It has a firm briar and cherry nose, with plum and a touch of dried herbs. On the palate it is firm with a bittersweet endive note, the oak and depth of the dried Corvina adding a balsamic richness and again that spicy, herby edge. Grippy yet fruity, and a serious food wine.
(2018) A really lovely Merlot from Colli Euganei, an appellation of the Veneto, From organic-certified vineyards planted on limestone and sited at 290 metres above sea level, it spends 24 months in French oak barrels and a further six months in bottle before release. Despite the plushness of ripe fruit and creamy oak, the bit of altitude and the soils also give a mineral, graphite and iron steeliness and freshness, the plum and blackcurrant fruit and some tobacco spices on the nose moving through to a full and rich palate, the velvety weight of fruit tensioned by firm tannins and a juicy rasp of acidity just giving a nice roughening grip to the wine into the finish.
(2017) From the DOCG area of Valdobbiade,, this has only 6g/l of dosage. The bubbles are medium-sized, and the opening aroma is of fresh sliced pear, though some little icing sugar and white flower notes add interest. In the mouth there's a deal of fruit concentration here, the clean pear and lemon flavours of the grape, that lower sugar and plenty of acidity giving it a touch of seriousness, savouriness, into the finish.
(2017) This is the first still wine I have tasted from Prosecco producer Sentio, and you know it is a rather good one: it's a northern Italian Pinot Grigio with a bit of weigh and substance, the clear juicy pear aroma (not pear drops, but succulent fruit) leads on to quite a full palate, a bit of lime, and the merest hint of sweetness is from ripe fruit, not sugar, and is soon swept up in matching acidity to leave it dry, moreish and very easy to drink.
(2017) A fragrant, light ruby-coloured and light-bodied red with a distinctly truffle and briar nose, this is one for the Pinot lover, its crisp and crunchy framework of acidity and neat tannins wrapping round bright cherry fruit, a bit of sour plum bite that's typically Italian, in a most refreshing style.
(2017) The second new sparkling wine is not Prosecco of course (the Prosecco DOC does not cover rosé wines), made from the Raboso red wine variety blended with other local white wine grapes. It has around 13g/l of residual sugar. Fashionably pale, the bubbles are fairly large, and the nose offers a charming icing sugar and small red fruit medley, then a lightly creamy palate of quite dry, small red berries with plenty of zippy lemon acidity to offset that hint of sweetness. Very easy to drink.