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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • 42 years together and still going strong!

    Umani Ronchi joined the Enotria portfolio is 1974 and we’ve proudly been selling their wines here in the UK ever since.

    Some wineries do such a great job of popularising the wines of a particular region that the association between the two becomes all but unbreakable: so it is with Umani Ronchi and the wines of the Marche and Abruzzi.

    Owned by the Bianchi-Bernetti family for well over 50 years, Umani Ronchi has become one of Italy’s most respected and go-ahead producers thanks to its championing of local wines such as Verdicchio Classico and Rosso Conero.

    During the 1980s, Massimo Bernetti had the vision to realise that the region’s dominant white wine style – Verdicchio – was overshadowing its distinctive red wines, particularly Rosso Conero and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

    What followed was a renaissance first for Rosso Conero – with standard-bearing wines such as San Lorenzo and Cumaro – and then for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, with the acquisition of 30ha of vineyards in the Teramane Hills.

    Over the past few decades, the company’s quest for ever better quality has led it to build up an estate of some 200 hectares of vineyards – 110ha in Verdicchio Classico, 60ha in Rosso Conero and 30ha in the Abruzzi.

    The result is a winning mix of crowd-pleasing classics – Verdicchio, Rosso Conero and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to the fore – alongside distinctive local wines such as Pecorino, Passerina and Lacrima di Morro d’Alba.

    A couple of our favourites...

    Pecorino Golden Fleece 2012

    Intensely aromatic, this is a wine redolent with flavours of peach, mango and rose petals. Nicely structured and pleasantly fresh, it shows great persistence in the mouth. This wine is great on its own and versatile enough to work with fish dishes, pasta, salad and soft cheeses. Pecorino with pecorino, anyone?

    Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, Fonte del Re 2011

    Enticingly aromatic fusion of floral perfume, fruit-forward roundness and a touch of complexity. Distinctive local wines such as this are the perfect foil for charcuterie – Lardellato di Fabriano or Ciavusculo salami. Primi piatti with salsa rossa or meat sauce are also a winning combination, along with white meats, marinated fish and medium-hard cheeses. Is anyone else hungry..?

  • B is for Barolo

    Barolo is without doubt one of the world’s most intriguing wines. When crafted with patience and care it is complex, powerful, elegant and endearing. E.Pira, Fontanafredda and Conterno Fantino are all of these things and more!

    E PIRA

    Since 1990, this jewel of Barolo has been run by the energetic and multi-talented Chiara Boschis, with the explicit goal of adding an aromatically elegant edge to the legendary power of  these great wines.

    She has added vineyards in Monforte to the original estate, but the heart of E Pira remains as it was in the days of the late Luigi Pira – just 2.5 hectares of vines in Barolo’s prized enclaves of Cannubi, Cannubi San Lorenzo, and Via Nuova. These are now managed organically and with a strict eye for detail and painstaking selection at harvest time.

    The winemaking uses modern techniques to maximise expression and approachability, resulting in wines that combine longevity with a benign drinkability for those who cannot wait to open them. In the case of Cannubi, all ripe fruit, sweet spice and signature hints of mint and eucalyptus.


    Conterno Fantino stands at the summit of 21st century

    Barolo, both literally and fi guratively. From its stunning winery atop the Monforte d’Alba hill, this alliance of the Fantino and Conterno families produces a range of wines that are both unmistakably modern in approach and utterly respectful of the region’s wine-growing heritage.

    Established by Guido Fantino and brothers Diego and Claudio Conterno, the business now also includes Guido’s son, Fabio, ensuring the involvement of a second generation in a winery that has already accumulated a sizeable heritage.

    That heritage is centred on vineyards that balance the need for Nebbiolo with plantings of Barbera, Dolcetto, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The 23 hectares have developed from Ginestra, one of the oldest named vineyards in this part of the world.

    The use of short maceration and French barriques places Conterno Fantino in the vanguard of Barolo modernism, with power and backbone to support the trademark texture, elegance and freshness.


    This historic estate conceals one or two little secrets – not least the hunting lodge to which its origins can be traced back to 1878. The property of the first King of Italy, it was not only a base for his hunting of the local game, but also for more, shall we say, earthy pursuits.

    The king’s mistress, stationed at Fontanafredda, gave birth to a son and, while not officially recognised as royal progeny, he was granted the lodge when the King died. The development of Fontanafredda as we know it today ensued – until a bank took it over in lieu of unpaid gambling debts.

    Today, thanks to a law prohibiting Italian banks from owning agricultural assets, the estate has passed into the sympathetic hands of Oscar Farinetti, founder of the Eataly chain of Slow Food restaurants and a native of nearby Alba.

    Fontanafredda’s revival under Farinetti looks assured and this sleeping beauty of the Langhe – its vineyards are surely among the finest in the area – is now on a clear upward trajectory.

    It’s a winery that combines this great history – Fontanafredda used to have its own bakery and school, and still preserves a great sense of community – with thoroughly modern production facilities for everything from Asti to Barolo.

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