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I’m going to Italy tomorrow for a week and a half. We’re heading to a wedding in Siena, but have a few days in rural Tuscany, and a couple of nights in Bologna after.
If you have any tips for vineyards, restaurants, must-sees, hit reply and let me know. As a result, there won’t be a newsletter next week - expect an Italian special when I get back.
In the last fortnight, I’ve had three separate recommendations for Slovak wines. So when I saw one on a wine list recently, I jumped to try it. Pivnica Brhlovce Bonka (£22.90 at Pull The Cork), is a field blend of some known grapes (blaufränkisch and gruner veltliner), and two rarer ones (chasselas blanc, and feteasca regala). This has an orange peel, strawberry and peach aroma with a wonderful refreshing palate, and a hint of cheesiness.
I visited Andrew Edmunds with an old friend. Andrew Edmunds is one of my favourite restaurants. It’s a real last bastion of Soho as it once was: the menus are written on paper and the staff are incredibly friendly and attentive. The food is that sort of British/French simple and classics done right, which only exist in a post-St John world.
The wine list there is also worth the visit. There, we drank Marie-Pierre’s Chevassu Fassenet Savagnin from Jura (£20 through The Wine Society). Jura wines are fascinating to explore if you haven’t yet. This was deeply complex with an immediate nuttiness, the warming texture of oak, white flowers, and some saltiness. A brilliant introduction to how well made Jura wines can be.
In Jura, one word to look out for is ouillé.
When you age wine in a barrel, some of the wine evaporates. As it does, and oxygen gets into the barrel, the flavour of the wine changes. These flavours in small doses are often enjoyable and can be characteristics in many great aged wines.
However, the term ouillé means that the barrels get topped up with new wine to reduce the amount of oxygen in the barrel. In Jura, they will label ouillé if it has been topped up. Both are topped up and non- give distinctive and fascinating wines. Ouillé is considered by some to be savagnin - the main grape from Jura - to be savagnin in its purest form.