Recently I was invited to meet with Tim O’Connell, who together with Alessandro Olivieri, created designwine – a site focused on premium Italian wine. They started up about a year and a half ago and began selling wine in UK over summer and “love all the wines they buy”. Me being an antipodean by nature (and currently working for Wine Australia) I have to admit my experience with Italian wine has mainly been with cheap Prosecco (how could it not given the abundance in the UK?!) and the odd red. It was a lovely meeting as I was in on the session with Vegemite Vix, superstar mummyblogger extraodinaire and the lovely Julia from The Communications Store.
It was great to hear Tim talk about the small, independent producers he’s working with, and the assurance in the care they take for every step of the way they work – right from producer to your doorstep. Italy is dominated by small producers ‘Petrozas’ (although don’t quote me on the spelling!) which are small independent wineries who follow traditional winemaking methods. No bulk wine processing here. Tim also noted growth in international varieties as well, so I was pretty excited to try some of the wines he had on over. We tasted three wines with Tim – the run down is below:
Adami Prosecco Bosco Di Gica, 2010
Muted florals on the nose, with light citus notes , a full mouth feel and refreshing crispness. Being from a cooler climate this wine is little more elegant that your run of the mill Proseccos being gulped down by Brits today, and is from the proper birthplace of Prosseco, Veneto. Perfect if you want to taste what real prosseco is like.
RRP 3 x bottles £48 or 6 x £87
Petrussa, Colli Orientali del Friuli Chardonnay, Chardonnay 2008
This was very yellow in the glass, so I was surprised with its relatively light texture. It had a hint of oak, and was gorgeously juicy. A good food wine, perfect with a vegetarian pasta dish. I have to admit, I loved it.
RRP 3 x bottles £63 or 6 x £117
Chianti Classico Berardenga – Felsina, 2008
This is made with Sangiovese, a native Italian grape variety that has been around since the 16th century, so a real taste of Italia! This is from Tuscany and has a lovely soft mouth feel, silky tannins and a heavey aroma which is a touch vegetal and earthy on the nose. There’s also some ‘green cherry’ and great acidity. This wine would definitely suit any type of grilled meat, in Tim’s own words “it likes things that are burnt!” – a real man’s wine!
RRP 3 x bottles £64.50 or 6 x £120
What was my favourite of the three? Definitely the Chardonnay although if I was chowing down on a chacuterie perhaps I would go for the Sangiovese.
Now the question is, would I buy from this site? There’s a lot of good information, and it does help a lot in demystifying Italian labels. Perfect for novices like me. They also have a sommelier service for recommendations where you can ask questions about a specificmeal or event you’re planning as well as a gift sommelier service where you can tell them about a friend you’re buying for and they will recommend accordingly. Bueno!