Drinking Well Episode 2: Italy


Photography: Jason Lowe

Drinking Well is the podcast designed to help you enjoy and shape your wine collection. In our first series, you’ll hear from our expert Buyers and Account Managers as they discuss which vintages to withdraw from your cellar this year. We also explore the most exciting developments in key fine wine regions, as well as revealing our team’s favourite wines and producers.

In this episode of Drinking Well, we hear from Buyer Davy Żyw and Account Manager Chris Pollington as they share their passion for Italian wine. You’ll learn which vintages to tuck into (and which to resist), trends to watch out for and which producers you should have on your radar. Read further for a taste of what was discussed in the episode:

What was the bottle of wine that gave you that “epiphany moment”? 

Davy My love of Italian comes from my family who are based in in Tuscany. We have an olive farm there and we’re next door to a few very famous wineries. So wine was always on the table. 

However, the wines of Grattamacco in the region of Bolgheri were my first “Eureka!” moment for Italian wines. I tasted vintages from of the early ’90s when I must have been around 15 or 16. It had such incredible fruit, minerality, perfume and expression – the feeling has stayed with me throughout my career. 

Chris I first started studying wine when I was at catering college back in the mid ’80s. I immediately found Italian wine the most fascinating subject because there’s myriad flavours and styles. I got the opportunity to taste both the ’85 and ’72 from Badia a Coltibuono – they were the catalyst that took me out of catering and put me into the wine trade. 

Are there any Italian vintages to look out for when building a fine wine collection? 

Davy Across Italy, the ’16 vintage was an absolute triumph and career defining for many producers both in Piedmont and Barolo, but also in Brunello wines. The ’16 vintage is has so much ripeness of fruit paired with vivid acidity and great structure. These wines are drinking beautifully now, but they’ve got incredible longevity as well. 

This year, we’ve got a few exciting releases coming up. The ’17 Brunello is a vintage which saw a lot of heat and generosity. This translates into wines which that are super approachable that can be drunk on release. 

We’ve also got the ’18 vintage of Barolo to look forward to in a few months’ time. It’s created wines with incredible elegance, freshness and really expressive style. I’m really looking forward to introducing to our customers to them. 

Chris The new vintage of Barbaresco, ’19, is really one to look out for. If you’re also able to pick up ’16s or ’17s at reasonable prices, they’re also very much worth having in your cellar. 

For more tips and insights from Davy and Chris, you can listen to the complete episode of Drinking Well here.