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Tuscany



With its silver green olive trees, rolling carpeted hills and rows of pencil thin cypresses, the Tuscan landscape is truly beautiful. 

It's a province that's held a steady stream of tourists smitten since the Middle Ages.  And with a legacy of influence, power, ambition and art, both Florence and Sienna, still draw them in by the thousands to this day. 

Red or white?
The warm scrubby Mediterranean landscape favours reds, with savoury Sangiovese playing the starring role. 

White wine production is minimal due to the heat. There's the local Vernaccia di San Gimignano, as well as some Trebbiano and Vermentino.

Styles
The best Sangiovese strikes a very agreeable sleek, sappy, and savoury balance of bright red cherry and pomegranate fruit. Flavours go deeper and darker depending on where it's grown and what other varieties it's blended with. 

International varieties like Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon and Merlot make some exceptional, powerful wines on the gravelly Tuscan coastal plains of Maremma. 

Key areas to look for are Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Bolgheri. 

Grapes
Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet
Vernaccia, Vermentino, Trebbiano, Chardonnay

Favourite Producers
Isole e Olena, Querciabella, Montevertine, Monteraponi, San Giusto a Rentennano, Biondi Santi, Poggerino (Chianti)
Il Marroneto, San Filippo, Valdicava, Siro Pacenti, Pian dell'Orino, Stella di Campalto, Scopetone (Brunello)

 



Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 


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  1. Scala Bianco (Greco) 2020
    Scala Bianco (Greco) 2020
    Calabria's best known wine region is Cirò, extending from the Ionian coast to the eastern foothills of La Sila with the classico zone centred around Cirò and Cirò Marina in the province of Crotone.
    This is 100% Greco from the family's lowest vineyards, between 100 to 150 meters above sea level. The Greco type found in Calabria is distinct from the one of the same name in Campania.

    Fermented and aged in stainless steel to retain the its crisp and crunchy edge. Hints of white flowers and lemon with a touch of citrus peel peak eagerly through the crunchy apple and tree fruits. There is a wonderful coastal vibe to the palate with more citrus and lemon a hint of underbrush that echoes the land its grown on. On the lighter side of medium this is the perfect wine for grilled or baked fish. Something grilled over hot coals you say!? Even better!
    2019
    Vermentino, White Blend
    Italy
    495
  2. Campo al Noce Miterre Bolgheri Rosso 2019
    Campo al Noce Miterre Bolgheri Rosso 2019
    Ripe and dramatic, a brooding core of spiced plums and red berries is laced with graphite and violets, thanks to a refreshing dose of cabernet franc. Attention-grabbing structure comes from a plush and chewy flow of tannins that take on an amaro savoury twist, offsetting the velvety core. A medley of complexing flavours comes from marrying four grapes (cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and syrah) together in spicy oak. Reminds me of a delicious luncheon claret with Italian accents and attitude. GABRIELLE POY, PWS
    2019
    Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, shiraz
    Italy
    495
  3. Antinori Tignanello Chianti Classico Riserva Marchesi Antinori 2018
    Antinori Tignanello Chianti Classico Riserva Marchesi Antinori 2018

    This wine is made exclusively with fruit from the gorgeous Tenuta Tignanello in San Casciano Val di Pesa (home to its namesake wine Tignanello, and Solaia) and sees mostly Sangiovese blended with a smaller part Cabernet Sauvignon and other complementary grapes. The Marchesi Antinori 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Marchese Antinori vaunts a smooth and silky personality with ample berry definition and brightness MONICA LARNER

    The 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Marchese Antinori offers a beguiling mix of Sangiovese energy and Cabernet Sauvignon savoriness. Translucent and energetic, the 2018 has much to offer. I would prefer to see a bit more Sangiovese character, but the Marchese is designed to be a sort of mini-Tignanello and it leans towards the more savory end of the spectrum because of the presence of Cabernet Sauvignon. ANTONIO GALLONI

    2018
    Cabernet Sauvignon, sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  4. Querciabella Camartina 2015
    Querciabella Camartina 2015
    Querciabella's flagship Camartina is flat-out stunning. Camartina is not a huge wine, as so many are in 2015, rather it possesses extraordinary finesse and elegance. Sweet floral notes, red berry fruit, mint and chalk notes give the 2015 soaring top notes, energy and vibrancy. Beautifully persistent and sculpted, the 2015 dazzles with its energy and overall intensity. There is so much to like here. ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous
    2015
    Cabernet Sauvignon, sangiovese
    Italy
    495
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