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Lay & Wheeler Italy tasting October 2019


I attended Lay & Wheeler’s Italy tasting last night and wanted to share my enthusiasm for a couple of producers I tasted for the first time:

Azienda Agricola 499


The winemaker is Mario Andrion also of Castello di Verduno and there is a strong family resemblance at a fraction of the price of the more lauded Barbarescos and Barolos. I think this a great bargain.

The other revelation for me was this:

Vie di Romans


and this


Not cheap but beautiful balance and precision. I was told to try their Chardonnay as well but it was not on offer last night.

Friuli in general showed well with the Ribolla Gialla blend of Le Due Terre proving excellent and there was a very delicious (= gluggable) lighter red made from scioppettino by Marco Sara.

I have to flag as well Ghemme where the Nebbiolo seems to have a lighter more floral touch - Valle Roncati’s was outstanding but appears to be sold out.

The notherly part of Piedmont was very exciting overall - there was also a lovely fragrant Pinot made by Ottin on show which I would highly recommend.

I don’t know what to make of it but the most exciting stuff I tasted certainly seemed to be border wines - either far North East or far North West. There’s clearly something to be said for sitting on the margins of a culture…


I was there too but focused on different things, mostly Piedmont, Tuscany and the far south. Thought Barolo had the strongest offering last night and have bought a few.

Wasn’t blown away by the Tuscans - possibly too warm in that room? I did love the Vigna del Sorbo though - hope TWS will be offering the 2016 at some point (I’ve already bought 13, 14 and 15 for TWS reserves) as it’s mostly sold out elsewhere, and what remains is very expensive. I also enjoyed the Cupano Brunello, which was from the cooler 2014 vintage. Anyway, felt happy I chose to skip the Brunello EP offer at TWS.


Did they show the 16 Coronato at the tasting?


I’m afraid not


I went for a case of these yesterday, loved the 2010. L&W much cheaper than SWIG as well (most things are cheaper than SWIG, actually).


I bought 6 bottles of the Ottin last week. Good to hear that it received favourable reviews.


Although you are right I have a soft spot for SWIG. Back in their Belsize Park days Damian and Robin were instrumental in sparking my current interest in wine and I bet I’m far from alone in that respect. Plus SWIG begat Vincognito so to speak and they continue to surprise with new discoveries.


It wasn’t a dig - I love their wines and they’ve put on some great tastings, I just would query their pricing sometimes and notions of “good value”.


Echo this sentiment! I suspect this has a lot to do with my enjoyment of wines of Alsace and Alto Adige. The mingling of two cultures and ways of being make for so much more interesting wines (as well as food), in my opinion!


Vie Di Romans one of my faves. Actually seem to me an amazing bargain for what are world class wines - only about 20 quid when sourced in Italy.

Did anyone try the Due Terre Red, Sacrisassi? I think this is maybe Friulis best red, and made from two wonderful grapes.


I didn’t, but I bought some of their white at the suggestion of my L&W ‘wine adviser’.


Don’t think I ever tried their white - they’re better known for the red (unusually for Friuli). I could imagine they would make something interesting from a grape as interesting as Ribolla (though the Ribollas I like best are generally at least a bit ‘natural’)


Me too