Our May tastings were marked by our first live events since last Autumn and there was a palpable sense of excitement as Teddington met at St Marys Parish Hall on Saturday night and Richmond at the Britannia on Monday night. We also held a lively Zoom tasting on Sunday which was extremely well attended and this format will continue alongside the live events.
Our theme was Mediterranean Island wines which incorporated Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Crete and Santorini and a fascinating three nights were enjoyed by all.
We kicked off with a wine from Crete made from the indigenous Vidiano grape variety. Crete has a long wine history dating back over 5000 years to the Minoans, but it is only relatively recently that its top wines have started to receive some rave critic reviews.
Crisp clean and aromatic with a lovely floral and oily texture – Vidiano was definitely a first time experience for everyone.
We tasted two wines from Sardinia, the second biggest island after Sicily. Historically, the wonderful climate has favoured volume viticulture but a number of top producers are making waves with some excellent examples. Antonella Corda impressed us with a delicious Vermentino and Cannonau (aka Grenache).
Sicily is by far the most developed wine-industry wise and has been a significant contributor to Italian wine production for a long time. Volume is high but top producers such as Donnafugata and Planeta have leading the way with seriously impressive wines made from both indigenous and international grape varieties. Our focus centred on mount Etna and the vines grown on the volcanic slopes. We had two wines from Terrazze del’Etna – both made from Nerello Mascalese. The white was unusual because it was a Blanc de Noirs – pale, aromatic with a fresh vibrant minerality; the red was pale and showing evidence of its age – 2012 – with spicy dried fruits and lots of earthy tertiary fruit.
We tasted two wines from Antoine Arena from Clos Alivu in Corsica. A lively Nielluccio red – believed to be a clone of Sangiovese that was crimson in colour and definitely need a few more years. The tasting was finished off by his wonderful Muscat du Cap du Corse. A Vin Doux Naturel very much in the style of a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. Crisp clean and sweet but not cloying.
We also taste the Assyrtiko 2019 from Gaia in Santorini at RWS on Monday. This is the much revered grape from this very fashionable island that has received a lot of coverage recently. It showed great freshness and a lovely sense of minerality.
Overall, the islands gave a very good account of themselves and delivered an eclectic range of grapes and styles.
For details of the wines, and prices, see the wines we have tasted page.