By Naheen Madarbarkus.
A tube strike is not the best way to start the seasonal tour of Italy’s vineyards in central London but it isn’t going to keep me away. A ‘special service’ Victoria line train is indication enough that the wines are calling and need to be tasted.
Green Park’s Cavendish Hotel – home of the The David Britton Restaurant - sits just behind The Ritz with the hotel’s first floor conference room playing host to samples of the Italian tipples. Barely a few minutes after 2pm, and all the swirling and spitting is in full action.
Just under twenty independent vineyard representatives make up a horse shoe display of tables, complete with their wine bottles and glossy leaflets in front of them. Another fifty or so journalists, PR members and industry experts are clutching their wine glasses firmly, visiting one ice bucket to the next to get a whiff, a taste and a hint of all the aromas.
As we all seek our perfect wines, I see that a huge range from Tuscany is on the table. My personal favourite belongs to the house of San Felice with their Pugnitello Toscana telling an intriguing tale. The unique story goes that the regional grape used has been reproduced by the powers that be at the University of Florence after it ceased to grow in the 1980s. After more than a twenty-year absence from their vineyards, this bottle now offers a smooth, fresh tasting white that commends the university team in their research efforts to reincarnate this particular grape.
The Monte Schicevo on the other hand, believe that a higher alcohol level covers the acidic taste of their offering, but unfortunately the rep is too shy to divulge any further about his comment.
A cosy gathering of vineyard experts nevertheless, with adventurous smaller manufacturers taking on the big boys. A selection of cheese and crackers would have complemented my experience further. However, for now, I’ll leave the tour there, wrestle with my own route back home via the tube strike and try some of these delicious varieties when out at my next Italian restaurant.
Looking for Italian restaurant inspiration in London? Then check out some of the follow:
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