A seductive sextet of wines from all corners of Italy from Honest Grapes
I don’t know about you but I’m still drinking like a bloody fish. I just can’t help myself. I mean there’s bugger all else to do now that I’ve finally watched all those 264 episodes of Frasier chronologically, put 1,191 meticulously chosen songs on my Spotify playlist (that’s a heartening 74 hours and 28 minutes’ worth) and grown, shaped and finally cut off my thick, grizzly face fungus.
And since my don’t-eat-anything-white diet has worked so darn well (17lb lost since 1 August thank you very much) I can no longer obsess about that either. No, all I can think about is what I’m going to drink tonight. But hurrah for small victories, for it’s still what I’m going to drink tonight not what I’m going to drink today, as I cling by my fingertips to an uncorking time of 7 p.m.
My resolve was not helped one jot by the seductively tasty dozen or so bottles I was sent by Honest Grapes for this offer. HG has just been awarded Outstanding Wine Retailer of the Year and Subscription Wine Club of the Year by Decanter, proving what I’ve known all along: that HG’s Tom Harrow and Nathan Hill not only love their wines but also their customers.
Italy is the boys’ great strength and it was the devil’s own job whittling the bottles down. But I dug deep on your behalf and here you are, six wines from six different regions.
We start with the 2018 Rosade Furlane Pinot Grigio (1) from Friuli, far removed from the naff Peeno Greegio of wine bar infamy. A superior version at a sensible price, this is fresh, fruity and lively and has that enticing creamy, sweet-edged PG fruit in the mouth before finishing medium-dry to dry. £10.90 down from £11.90.
The 2019 Antonelli Baiocco Grechetto (2) from a 140-year-old estate near Montefalco, Umbria, is a charmer for sure. Fresh, lemony, peachy and slightly nutty, it’s made from 100 per cent Grechetto, a local grape well known to lovers of Orvieto, and has the benefit of being 100 per cent organic too. £12.40 down from £13.40.
The 2019 Villa Sparina Chiaretto Montej Rosé (3) from Montferrato, Piedmont, is a fresh, floral, steel-fermented blend of Barbera and Dolcetto. Summer might be over but there’s still a place for crisp, clean, lively rosés such as this and Mrs Ray and I demolished a bottle of it in double quick time the other night, so charmingly easygoing is it. £14.20 down from £15.20.
The 2019 Castello di Torre Elephas (4) from Lazio is an organic blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Merlot fermented in concrete vats. It’s young, I know, but it’s not a wine to age. Drink it now and revel in its fresh, juicy cherry-like fruit and imagine you’re on some sun-dappled Roman terrace, a steaming plate of bucatini all’amatriciana in front of you and a gorgeous companion with whom to share it. £11.90 down from £12.90.
Family-owned, century-old Cantine Volpi is based in Piedmont but it makes wines across Italy, one of the tastiest of which is the 2018 Volpi Terre Nero d’Avola (5) from Sicily, part of the Era range of organic wines. Smooth, spicy and full of rich, vibrant, plummy fruit, it’s robust rather than sophisticated and extremely enjoyable. £12.20 down from £13.20.
Finally, the 2019 Poggio Argentiera Maremmante (6) from the Maremma in Tuscany. What was once mosquito-plagued marshland is now home to some of Italy’s finest wines (think Ornellaia, Solaia and Sassicaia) and this Cabernet Franc/Syrah blend (organic, natch) is a deliciously herbal, spicy and richly fruity gem. Again, it’s a wine to enjoy in its youth so uncork and enjoy! £14.90 down from £15.90.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine. Delivery, as ever, is free.