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Monviso Wines – Italian Wine Tasting at Sapori, Twickenham

October 24, 2013

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Alistair Cameron has been involved in the wine and food business for about 30 years and has recently set up Monviso Wines with Chris Ackland, a former sound engineer in the film business. A few weeks ago they went to an Italian cheese festival in the city of Bra, south of Turin, in Piedmont. Piedmont is an area of Italy rich in some of its very best food and wine, such as truffles, ricotta cheese, salsa verde, zabaione and Barolo wine. Carlo Petrini, a Piedmontese, began the Slow Food movement 20 years ago, waging a war on ‘fast food’. Piedmont is sheltered by the Italian Alps and from its mountainous terrain to the fertile Po valley, its geography has characterised its food and wine. Monviso (or Monte Viso) is the highest peak.

While in Bra, Alistair and Chris tried the wines produced by Michele and Vanina Fino at Cascina Melognis in the foothills of Monviso. They were so impressed they decided quickly that they wanted to import them and thus set up the wine tasting I went to on Tuesday evening. Another is to follow on 19 November.

Michele and Vanina started the winery in 2008 and produce just 7,000 bottles a year and aim to increase this to 10,000 bottles. They don’t use weedkillers or chemical fertilisers. The red wines are based on the Barbera grape and there were two of their wines to try: ‘Ardy’, a 100% Barbera and ‘Novamen’, a blend of 75% Barbera and 25% Pinot Noir.

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The Ardy (£16) is a smooth wine, low on acidity, while the Novamen (£19) has more acidity and tannin, making it suitable for ageing. I loved this one particularly. Alistair did point out the labelling is a bit unusual – if you’re wondering! – but they’d wanted to avoid the usual castles etc generally found on wine bottles. There were also two white wines from a neighbouring town. The wine tasting was held in Sapori TW1, an Italian deli and cafe recently opened in Twickenham.

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I’ve popped in a few of times as it’s very close to my home and they have some great things in there, from Acquerello rice that’s become the hottest risotto rice in London, to De Cecco pasta and their own selections of wines.

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Ingrid and Andrea had prepared some wonderful plates of appetisers for us to try between wines and there was their own house prosecco on arrival.

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I particularly liked a cheese called Briscola al Barbera which is a cheese covered in dried Barbera grapes. It was of course highly appropriate for the wine tasting!

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I’m going to return to write a fuller post on Sapori soon but meanwhile if you want to know more about Monviso Wines then contact Alistair at: alistair.cameron844@gmail.com and maybe come along to the next wine tasting.

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