Of the many wine producing regions of Italy, we concentrate principally on two - Tuscany and Piedmont - where arguably the finest wines are made. Tuscany is the home of Sangiovese - which finds its greatest expression in the wines of Montalcino - while Piedmont is the home of Nebbiolo - the grape variety of Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, we have wines from Friuli in the far northeast, close to the border with Slovenia, from the Veneto (particularly famous for the sparkling wines made from Prosecco) and from Umbria, where quality can be very fine, while price remains remarkably reasonable.

Wine production in Italy has undergone an extraordinarily rapid period of change over the last 20 to 30 years. Gone is the obsession, born at least in part from the impoverishment of the post-War years, for producing the maximum possible volume from the vineyards, which resulted in the production of vast quantities of dilute, under-ripe and poorly made wines. The generation of the increasingly affluent decades of the 1970s and 1980s, which has now taken control of family vineyards, has very different ideas. The transparency of the global market, and the competition for the attention of wine drinkers has brought in its wake the realisation that wine, however cheap, will not sell if the quality is not there. Now we have a generation of Italian producers making wines of the highest quality at all levels of price.

Rocca Bernarda

The Rocca Bernarda – more villa than fortress despite its appearance – stands in a classic Italian setting of ancient cypress trees and vines, with spectacular views over the surrounding country and the village of Premariacco, near Udine.  It was built by the Counts Valvason Maniago in 1567, by which time wine was already being made on the estate, and after a number of changes of ownership, passed to the current owners in 1977. As well as its ‘regular’ wines, the estate also produces a remarkable pudding wine from Picolit – a variety which effectively owes its continuing existence in the region to the passionate work of previous owners of the estate, Giuseppina Perusini and particularly her son Gaetano, who did so much to preserve its cultivation in the 1950s. The estate’s vineyards are especially well placed, on gentle slopes which allow good exposure both to the cooling winds which blow from the north and to the coastal summer breezes; these ensure a wide range of temperatures and the development of correspondingly complex aromas and flavours in the wines.  Grapes are hand picked and vinified in stainless steel vats.

Rocca Bernarda


2016 Picolit, Rocca Bernarda x 6 50cl bottles
 6 50cl Bottles
The grapes are harvested in late October and then laid out on rush mats for a month, allowing the sugars to concentrate. Fermented and aged entirely in barrel. Lustrous straw gold colour. Stunning aromas of honey and caramelised apples. Complex, sweet and ripe on the palate, with a real lift of acidity providing the wine with excellent balance and length. A really wonderful pudding wine. 

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