The best Italian Pinot Noir?


A pinot noir that knows the limits of its terroir and weather and extracts the best from both.
Not a big one, all power and depth, rather an agile one, all elegance, lightness, nimbleness; not thick burgundy curtains but half open Venetian blinds that allow a glimmer of sunshine in.
Rose immediately, then berries; when drinking what strikes you is the tingling acidity and a hint of gameyiness later on and the love for Mr Alois Lageder and his biodynamic wines that pervades you.
Below 30 pounds.


Two beautiful Cabernet Francs at Koffmann’s and Briciole, with plug

(Visited: July 2013)

The first beauty, Chinon Beaumont Catherine and Pierre Breton 2010, is a classic expression of this grape, medium bodied, floral with herbal notes, a little spicy, and a persistent desire to go on vacation in the Loire. 13% alcohol, biodynamic. We had it at Koffmann’s.


The second is a very, very different CF: L Bandit Franc, Proprieta’ Sperino 2006. This is from Piedmont, a darker, fuller bodied experience, 14%, with fruit and chocolate, but elegant, not in yer face. Had at Briciole.


Both wines were a joy. At Koffmann’s you pay at the lower end of the possible London markup range, while at Briciole the mark up is off scale, so outrageously gentle it is, just a touch above what it would cost you retail online. Given that it comes with gorgeous, hearty and expertly executed Italian food like these  tagliolini with pecorino cheese


or these tagliatelle with a lamb ragout (yes it takes much skill as well as good produce to make a good pasta)


or like this burrata oozing its heavenly juices



given all this, and more, we were saying, we strongly urge you, whether or not you are a wine lover, to pay Briciole a visit. Or two. Or more.

And if you are indeed a wine lover you’ll unashamedly cry of happiness.

As for Koffmann’s, we’ve plugged our beloved old (metaphorically of course) man on this blog so many times, and moreover we’ll do it again soon…, that only the most trusting of you are not thinking by now that we are fully paid up advertisers, so we’ll refrain for once…

Hare a la Royale, Koffmann’s style



You really feel like a king.

Merry Christmas to all!

Not all local, lesser known wines…

…are a charming discovery, like this one a while ago. We would have loved to be equally enchanted by this Rebo


but, sadly, we weren’t.

Rebo, in the unlikely event you don’t know, is a crossing between that king of international wines, Merlot, and a fine expression of Trentino terroir, Teroldego. It was ‘invented’ in 1948 by an Italian wine scientist, Rebo Rigotti, whose imagination obviously was focussed on wine technology rather than name creation.

Well, we were never great Rebo enthusiasts and always thought that Merlot and especially Teroldego were perfectly fine on their own, thank you very much, But we’ve had some decent ones.

Alas, this one wasn’t among them: it had thoroughly uninteresting, excessively vivacious fruitiness, even verging on the unpleasant. Sorry.


Do you know Brezeme?

For us it’s a wine discovery, courtesy of the excellent sommelier at The Ledbury:

Brezeme is a Northern Rhone appellation, and the sample we tried is from a grape called Serine, a clone of Syrah.

It is quite spicy in fact, and we taste cherries and lots of Summer fruit, as well reminiscences of sun-warmed Mediterranean beaches, and desire of a vacation.

We think it’s also biodynamic. If so it would be one of a lengthening list of biodynamic wines we really like, which is funny because we think that what in biodynamics is beyond organic is just biobullshit.

Be that as it may, what a lovely discovery.


Finally three for Crippa

Piazza Duomo, which blew us away last year, has finally got its third star. For anybody who wants to understand modern Italian cuisine at its highest level, this (together with Francescana) is the place to go.
Congratulations Crippa!


Salice Salentino Candido Riserva, I Satiri, 2006

Sometimes one hits on a really interesting everyday wine. Here’s a recent discovery:

A beautiful hearty Negroamaro, with morello cherries, smoky notes and a kind of bittery chocolatey finish in evidence, it seems to us a real bargain for 7.99 at Majestic Scotland.

Suggested pairing: Barcelona 3 – Milan 1 (it works both for the jubilant and for the desparing).


Two Piemonte beauties

Two interesting wines that we’ve had recently and that we recommend – with the full authority of our ignorance:

Barolo Cannubi, E. Pira e figli  – Chiara Boschis, 1998

Barbera d’Asti Bionzo, La Spinetta,  2007

A king and a prince, let’s say. In common, a nice long finish. Both are quite typical of their genre (the muscular structure and balsamic touch of the Barolo Cannubi, the lively creamy acidity of the Barbera).

The Barbera is available for about 30 Euros at Italian retailers (and we had it for 45 euros in Piemonte restaurants: dream on, Londoners!). The Barolo comes at over 50 euros retail in Italy. Similar figures but in pounds in the UK. 

The small print that sadly one reads ever more often at the bottom of some fellow bloggers’ posts stimulates us to add: this post, like all our posts, has not been sponsored.



(London, Mayfair).
One must always make an effort not to be a prisoner of preconceived ideas, and be ready to accept that things may change.
But sometimes it’s really, really hard.

La Pech Abusé 2004

There is more than one reason to like this wine. First, its name is a witty pun, abusé/Buzet: they were refused the Buzet denomination. We like humour. 

Second, the reason why they were refused is that they did not comply with all the detailed requirements of the appellation (e.g. aging length). We always support creative individuals against rigid bureaucracy. 

Third, their label is pretty (done by the daughters of the producer). We like prettiness. 

Fourth, the wine is biodynamic. Ok, we don’t like all the mystical babble, but it is nice to know that it contains no sulphur and the farming is organic.

Last and fundamental, it tastes good! Merlot and Cabernets (Franc and Sauv) in full Bordeaux style, so beautifully ruby that one would even feel justified in spouting nonsense on the virtues of biodynamics: we taste black fruits and earthiness and smokiness.

Discovered thanks to Massimiliano Baló, a clever young sommelier at Koffmann’s. It costs £44 there, retail about a third of that (which, by the way, isn’t bad by London restaurant standards).


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