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Sometimes a few wines cross your path that demand attention. This can manifest itself in many different ways. They can be dreadful (these will be absent from this blog so as to avoid hurt feelings ref The Conchords“). They may be prohibitively expensive. They may be massively monstrous, or alternatively, they may be subtly sublime. I enjoy alliteration and use it often in homage to my childhood English master who said ” Lewis! This essay is a mass of mixed metaphors”. To which I facetiously replied “Is that not alliteration sir”. The wry smile on his face as he said “Get out boy” stays with me today. I am digressing , these two wines come under the heading subtly sublime.

I seem to be tasting (drinking) a lot of Italian wines at present – obviously not right now as its the morning! I find them to be the perfect wines for autumn – subtle, medium bodied with enough tannic grip and vibrant acidity to compliment the kind of food suited to summer’s end.

The red is a Nebbiolo from G.D. Vajra in the Langhe. It’s a kind of “Baby Barolo” coming from younger vines, but packed with the classic violet and red berry aromas associated with the grape variety. Aldo Vajra is a traditionalist, and a champion of old-styley winemaking (His Barolos spend three and a half years in barrel prior to bottling). Vajra’s wines are less powerful than those from Serralunga, but what they lack in oomph they more than make up for in elegance. This is almost Burgundian in style with an intense and pure fruit character redolent of it’s origin. Tannins are ripe – but necessarily grippy, and the balance is sublime. If your funds cannot stretch to Barolo then this is the badger!

The sticky is from the Maremma, and, if tasted blind, could easily be mistaken for a Barsac. It’s intentionally made by Elizabetta Gepetti as an homage to the wines of Sauternes (my blind note said Barsac). A blend of Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grown in Scanscano, this is lush, ripe, jam packed with peaches and enlivened throughout with a racy, almost citrusy acidity together with a smidgeon of minerality for added complexity. Again, if your wallet is too skinny for Sauternes you can always get two half bottles of this – give it a blast .