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Posts Tagged ‘Piedmont’

Pasquale and the 2011 harvest

February 6, 2012 by Christine No Comments »

You may think that wine merchants in Ireland never really get their hands dirty with the manufacturing processes. However, to prove you wrong, Rebecca has put together a few shots of Pasquale out in Piemonte (home to fabulous reds such as Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto or amazing whites like Gavi di Gavi and Roero Arneis) lending a hand with the 2011 harvest and taking a tour around some vineyards.


Just click on the link to see what she has prepared

Why do we do these things? – to ensure that when we offer you A Taste of Italy, we are offering the real thing!


Minestrone – Healthy, warming and easy on the pocket

December 27, 2011 by Christine 2 Comments »

When it’s cold outside and Christmas is over, a good warming home-made minestrone will make you feel cosy. With the added bonus of being full of goodness what more could you want?

Ingredients (for 4 people):

      • Half an onion, finely chopped
      • 1 carrot, quartered lengthways and chopped into small cubes
      • 1 stick celery, quartered lengthways and finely sliced
      • 1 more vegetable of choice cut into small pieces
      • 1 tin cannellini beans (or 200gr dried cannellini beans soaked overnight in cold water)
      • 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
      • 500ml Chicken or vegetable stock
      • 4 tbsp olive oil
      • 200g small pasta shapes (or you can break up spaghetti into small lengths)
      • 500ml water
      • salt

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and then sauté the onions until soft. Add the bacon/pancetta if you are using it and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the carrots, celery and your extra vegetable (I often use a handful of green beans, a courgette or some broccoli but this is a great way to use up vegetables from the fridge). Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring well and then add the beans and the chopped tomato. Pour the stock over the top, bring to the boil and let it simmer for about an hour and a half (you can do it in 30 minutes if you are using tinned beans).

In a second small saucepan, boil the water and salt to taste (dissolve the salt in the water, then taste the water to see if you like the taste and add more salt or water accordingly). Add the pasta and cook for the time stated on the packet.

Mix the pasta with the minestrone and serve hot with crusty bread, ground pepper and a sprinkling of parmesan.

We enjoyed ours with a glass of Barbera from Vinchio Vaglio Serra. How will you enjoy yours?




December 20, 2011 by Christine No Comments »

We are very excited to share with you the scores we recently received from Antonio Galloni in the Wine Advocate.  Writing in Issue 197 of October 2011, he said:

 “This is a gorgeous set of entry-level wines from Luciano Sandrone that speak to the estate’s unwavering commitment to quality throughout the range. These are fabulous wines that make a great introduction to the work of one of Piedmont’s leading estates.”

 Thank you Antonio for recognizing that we take quality at every level extremely seriously. We strive to put the same care, passion and dedication into every bottle we make, whether it be the basic Dolcetto or a bottle of Barolo Cannubi Boschis.

 Here are the comments and scores for the entry-level wines just released:

2009 Nebbiolo d’Alba “Valmaggiore”  92 points

 “The 2009 Nebbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore is striking. It flows from the glass with sweet red fruits, flowers, spices and herbs in a very representative expression of this site. This is a gorgeous, poised Nebbiolo with wonderful mid-palate sweetness and fabulous overall balance. A clean, saline finish gives the wine its focus and proportion on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019.”

  2009 Barbera d’Alba  90 points

“The 2009 Barbera d’Alba impresses for its silkiness, finesse and sheer harmony. This is a mid-weight vintage for the Barbera, but here, too, the wine’s balance is totally irresistible. This shows lovely mid-palate pliancy in a feminine style that is incredibly appealing. Sweet dark cherries, flowers and subtle hints of French oak linger on the polished, impeccable finish. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016.” 

2010 Dolcetto d’Alba  90 points

“The 2010 Dolcetto d’Alba is a beautifully articulated, vibrant wine loaded with varietal character. In keeping with the personality of the year, this is less fruit driven than many other recent vintages, but that is actually a plus here given the low yields that inform the estate’s wines. The Dolcetto shows terrific intensity and verve from start to finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.”

We would also like to thank all of you who have supported and enjoyed our wines over the years. We truly appreciate your continued interest and we will always strive to exceed your expectations for our wines.

 With warmest regards, 

 Luciano Sandrone

Barbara Sandrone

Luca Sandrone


You can find Sandrone wines in our on-line shop at

We look forward to seeing you there


Vinchio – Vaglio Serra

December 16, 2011 by Christine No Comments »

Vinchio Vaglio Serra is a “Vinegrowers Association” located near Asti in the town of Vinchio. Far from your typical “social winery,” Vinchio Vaglio Serra controls all aspects of the production process from vine to bottle.

Their wines have garnered the highest possible praise from Gambero Rosso, and for good reason. The Barbera grape thrives in the hills of Monferrato, and Vinchio Vaglio Serra truly knows Barbera.

The many growers associated with Vinchio Vaglio Serra have a long history with the cantina. Founded in 1959, the cantina has dedicated itself to promoting the illustrious, if often under-rated Barbera grape. Although they produce many other wines, Barbera is clearly the focus at this modern winery. All of the members of the winery are committed to working with a low environmental impact, reducing the use of pesticides.

The focus on quality in the vineyard is immediately recognisable when opening a bottle, and affirmed when visiting the vineyards surrounding the town of Vinchio. A more peaceful setting cannot be imagined, with the surrounding hills covered in vines, primarily Barbera.

But Vinchio Vaglio Serra is not limited toBarbera.  Their Barolo and Barbaresco are excellent representations of Nebbiolo, and you can also try their Moscato and Brachetto.

Vinchio – Vaglio Serra wines have won awards across the world.

In our shop you can buy La Romantica  2010 – a cabernet merlot mix which won a bronze medal in the Korean wine challenge.

Or if you prefer Barbera, we have I Tre Vescovi 2009 which was awarded a silver medal in the international wine challenge 2011, a bronze medal in Decanter WWA 2011 and silver (best in class) in IWSC 2011.

Sei Vigne Insynthesis has won Gold medals from Decanter and from ISWC as well as 2 red glasses from Gambero Rosso. This isn’t on the website but is available upon request.

These wines and more are available from our on line shop at

Enjoy a bottle of Vinchio Vaglio Serra wine today


Herb encrusted lamb & Barbaresco

January 18, 2011 by Inez No Comments »

Just because christmas is over doesn’t mean to say the food and wine has to end, well not in my world anyway!! I made this recipe for the girls I live with and it went down a treat.  Im not suprised that it they enjoyed it so much normally they have a diet of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and Lyons Tea so it was only natural that the lamb was a welcome change!!!

Herb Encrusted Lamb
1 rack of lamb, enough for 4 people with the fat taken off
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of dried Thyme
1 tbsp of dried Rosemarry
1 tbsp of dried Oregon
1 tbsp of dried Parsley
2 tbsp of bread crumbs
2 or 3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl then simply smear the the herb mixture over the rack of lamb. Place the lamb on any container which will contain the juices and put in the oven for 40-45mins.  Ensure that the oven is not too hot as the herbs on the outside will burn.
I then prepared some mash potatoes with dill, and some carrots and beans with butter and a little onion. 

A dish like this must have a good wine to go with it,  lamb being a highly flavoursome and fairly heavy meat should have an equally flavoursome and full bodied wine to match.  As I was lashing out I decided to have a Barbaresco by Elvio Cogno.Elvio Cogno
Elvio Cogno is a winery situated in the heart of the Langhe district in Piedmonte and naturally they produce two of Italy’s most famous red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco!!! The Barbarescois made from the same Nebbiolo grape as the Barolo however it is not as full bodied as the Barolo.  Barbesco is a very elegant and aromatic wine and this is because of the excellent vinification methods. It must be aged for at least 2 years one of which must be in oak barells, and is best drunk after 5-10 years.  The Barbaresco is rich and spicy and has wonderful flavours of  rose petal, red fruits, tar, and earth.  It does need to be decantered though but after good 30mins it was smooth, and soft and lived up to its name of being a highly elegant wine.  These wondeful array of flavours and aromas make it a perfect match for the lamb and all in all you have an amazing meal on your hands.


Inez O’Shea
“A Taste of Italy”


Ruche Wines

August 19, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

While travelling in the Italian region of Piedmont I was eating in a small pub in the town of Castognole, this small pub was totally my style: simple, easy, laid back, with of course briliant food and wine. What made this pub also so special was the “randomness” of the clientele, there were families having dinner, teenagers having a few beers,  couples enjoying a quite dinner together, even a group of elderly locals had gathered to enjoy a grappa and a chat. With the mixture and confusion of everybody it created an energetic and exciting atmosphere.  It was here that the owner who runs the pub with her husband recommend I try a Ruche wine with my meal. 

My response was Ru…. what???Having never heard of a Ruche, she explained that Ruche is from the Castognole region which is a small zone of about 10kms comprising of the 7 small villiages in Castagnole Monferrato.  Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato is now a DOC production region. Ruchè wine is made from a rare indigenous grape variety, which has been researched and discovered to have its very own DNA.  The annual production is around 450,000 – 500,000  bottles of wine, with only 75 hectares of Ruchè vineyards existing.

Ruche wine is revered in this small area because of its rarety and uniqueness. Traditionally only the locals drank it however word is slowly starting to spread about this wine and its starting to creep over the borders and even abroad, slowly but surely. 
It is produced in the traditional method and is drunk quite young, due to its age it is has a lovely ruby red colour, the aromas are of red berries and very floral!! To be honest the taste is like nothing I have ever tried.  It is so particular and different I really can’t compare it to anything!! Medium bodied,  fruity and faintly sweet.  It is not tannic but rather soft and smooth!! The fruity red berry and plum flavours make it an easy drinking and extremely pleasant wine which I continued to enjoy well into the evening!! It goes very well with the local cheeses of Piedmont, as well as a good old Piemontese pasta.  Ruche is well worth a try and I can guarantee like nothing you have ever tried!!

Inez O’Shea “A taste of Italy


Italian Grapes!!

June 29, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

This week A Taste of Italy is encouraging you to try something different!! Lets be honest, 99.9% of us have tried a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay,Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz etc etc etc etc, but why not try a grape which is indigenous to Italy??
For me there is something really unique and exciting about trying a wine where the grape is ONLY grown in that particular region in Italy, so not only can you NOT find it in any other country in the world, but more often then not it cant even be found in other regions of Italy!!!!!

For example the Valpolicella wine, is made up of 3 grapes, the Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and the Molinara grapes.  All of these grapes are grown only in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, and for me,  knowing this is what makes drinking a Valpolicella or Amarone a real pleasure!!

Of course there are many other indigenous grapes for example many of the wines from the Pidemonte region i.e. the Nebbiolo grape which is the grape responsibile for the Barolo, and Barbaresco wine, as well as the Barbera and Ruche’ wines. Really the list is endless, but this is what distinguishes New World and Old World wine, being an Australian I’m open to all wines, however this is what makes drinking Old World wines enjoyable for me!!


Inez O’Shea “A taste of Italy”


Embracing Summer with Food and Wine

May 21, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

stock vector : Bright summer sunshine vector background. EPS10 file.  We never thought it would arrive but it has, Summer!!!! At long last!! So to celebrate its arrival we thought we would give you a lovely summer recipe with a  great wine recommendation, so you can embrace the season in every way!!


Grilled Chicken with a Coriander and a Mint Salsa

1 tbsp coriander roughly chopped
2 tbsp mint leaves
1 spring onion-finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
150ml olive oil
ground  salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl.

Grill the chicken on a bbq or stove top, when it is ready transfer to a plate and lightly pour the salsa over the top.

Chop a banana and place into a bowl, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and add some grated coconut.                                                                      stock vector : flowers on papyrus background

Wine Recommendation
As this dish is very light and fresh we suggest a wine which is similiar to the dish, so heavy red wine would not go very well at all. However the Gavi di Gavi, by Cantina Produttori del Gavi would be a wonderful accompaniment. 
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gavi, it comes from the Piemonte region in Italy, and is made from the Cortese grape. Its best known for its,crisp, floral, peachy, aromatic qualities and is very light, fresh and sometimes has hints of melon, almonds or hazlenuts.  The soil in the Gavi region is made up of clay and limstone which gives the wine its unique taste!!

The Gavi di Gavi will comliment the flavours of mint, coriander and garlic in the recipe and make sure it is nicely chilled before serving!! 

With the sun shining, some good classic rock  blaring on the stereo and great company its impossibile not to enjoy!!!

Have Fun!!
Inez  O’Shea”A taste of Italy”

stock vector : Grunge flower background with butterfly, element for design, vector illustration                                                                                 stock vector : floral background


Wine for Spring!!

April 6, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

Cheese and Red WineSpring is finally here so now is the time to drag out the picnic basket and embrace the warmer weather!!  We have some top white wines that are perfect to enjoy!!

This week our special is the Gavi di Gavi by the producer “Produttori del Gavi” this wine is from the Cortese grape and the vintage is from 2007.  It has a very light straw colour  and the aroma is fine and intense, fresh and aromatic in the glass, with hints of green apple and hazelnuts .  It is quite a dry and crisp wine, while at the same time quite bright and refreshing through the palate!!

Stock Photography: Picnic Basket With Wine and Bread, Cut Out on White Background