2015 Birba, La Gerla, Tuscany, Italy
Robbie Toothill is a wine buyer at Lay & Wheeler and his palate is impeccable. Here are three stunning Italian reds that Robbie has unearthed, two of which I know well and one which is a brand-new find. My advice is to mix a case and treat your palate to these extraordinarily delicious and competitively priced wines.
In order, from the “lightest” to the “heaviest”, first up is the 2017 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Boscarelli (£20.68), a smooth, seamless sangiovese with little or no tannin and a snap of keen acidity on its finish. It is a cranberry- and sour-cherry-soaked fellow that is eminently gluggable as well as being effortlessly classy. Second is my featured Birba, which means “little rascal” in the local dialect. Made by a fabulous Brunello di Montalcino producer, this is a seriously plush, spicy, ripe and oaky wine that is every inch a Super-Tuscan – superbly luxurious and immensely impressive. If it wore a £50 price tag I wouldn’t have blinked. “Little rascal” should be renamed “big beauty”!
Finally, the 2016 Arte Langhe Rosso Domenico Clerico (£24.28) is made by an elite Piemonte estate and this nebbiolo and barbera blend is impactful, stuffed with glamorous black-fruit tones and oodles of attitude. Just starting to drink well and with another ten years in the tank, this is another heroic discovery. Tre applausi!
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com).