The classic Bordeaux blend from New Zealand? Can they do it?

Villa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Translucent and tinged with purple in colour, being only 2 years old, that’s what we’d expect. The nose is very bright red current and cherry fruits, attractive, easy drinking with roasted meats and veg.

There’s a soft tannin, an easy party wine that suits a broad range of chatting palate’s.

Definitely worth a try. New Zealand and Villa Maria in particular has a big fan base. Our opinion is that it is a crowd pleaser, as opposed to a connoisseur’s choice, but that is reflected in the price.
£12.99 - available from Majestic, Morrisons and www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk

Nick Breeze

Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.

 

East from Roma to Abruzzo

From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.

 

After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of. 

Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!

 

What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.

 

The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.