Monday, 17 October 2011

The Wonders of Italian Passitos

I'm currently running an Italian wine course that tours the country over six weeks.  Sourcing the wines for the course is a fun task, but for some wines an extremely tricky one.  For things like Chianti and Barolo you're fairly spoiled for choice in the London market, leaving me a different problem of which example to go for.  However, trying to find some of the rarer wines I wanted for the course (that are classic styles within their own regions of Italy, but don't travel much), was considerably harder.  The toughest job of all was getting the passitos I needed, which are wines

Monday, 10 October 2011

Chenin the Versatile

In the summer we spent a week in Touraine, which meant getting to drink plenty of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, the two primary varieties of the Central Loire.  The latter gives good quality and great value wines in the appellations of Chinon, Bourgeuil, Anjou Villages and Saumur Champigny, but we'll save that story for another day.  The real superstar of the region is Chenin Blanc, an almost forgotten variety in the international market, yet one of extremely high intrinsic quality and unsurpassed versatility, being responsible for white wines in almost every