Changing the way people drink wine here in the UK is an exciting challenge and one that we accept wholeheartedly. If you’re a like-minded soul who shares our passion for great Italian craft wine that defies taste expectations – and want to keep track of the boxed wine revolution via – you can also sign up to receive our monthly news round-ups.
UPCOMING EVENTS – Come and say hello and enjoy a tipple with us at:
Taste on Two, Harvey Nichols, Manchester – 1st October, Monday
Red Cross Call My Bluff, Saddler’s Hall, London – 5th October, Friday
Festival of Wine, London – 13th October, Saturday
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, Olympia , Liverpool – 13th October, Saturday
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, H Suite, Birmingham – 20th October, Saturday
Festival of Wine, Edinburgh – 3rd November, Saturday
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, Passenger Shed, Bristol – 3rd November, Saturday
Love Wine Birmingham, The Burlington Hotel – 10th November, Saturday
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, DEPOT, Cardiff – 17th November, Saturday
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, Examination School, Oxford – 24th November, Saturday
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, Barrowlands, Glasgow – 16th February, Saturday (2019)
Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, Racecourse, Cheltenham – 23rd February, Saturday (2019)
You’d expect winter and vines to be arch enemies wouldn’t you? Not so. Snow-laden vines are a great sight for any producer. Because as the snow melts it hydrates the vines at a really deeply level, which results in gorgeously juicy grapes. The scene above looks out over Franco Roero’s vineyard, home to our award-winning Barbera.
The nearest most of us get to an Italian Christmas is buying a huge panettone that ends up at the back of the cupboard. But we don’t want you missing out on even a sparkle of La Dolce Vita, so we’ve compiled the When in Rome guide on how to ‘Celebrate As The Italians Do… this Christmas’ and, more importantly, which of our wines to pair with food, friends and family.
In the Beginning
Christmas kicks off early in Italy, with the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8. On this day the decorations go up and the festive markets open. But things start in earnest on Christmas Eve and run straight through to New Year. Like us, it’s all about family time with cracking food and, if you’re lucky, fabulous wine from the local vineyard.
An Italian Christmas Eve
Everyone travels home on the 24th for the traditional Christmas Eve feast. Called ‘La Vigilia’, it tends to be a lighter affair than the next day’s feast and, crucially, never features any meat. Italian families gather round and enjoy a veritable banquet of seafood (lots of seafood) – think tuna, salted cod, octopus and swordfish – served with antipasti, simple veggie pasta dishes and the obligatory carafe or two of wine.
We don’t think there’s a better white wine to enjoy with your festive canapes and smoked salmon than our Falanghina. Coastal Southern Italy in a glass, it was named by The Telegraph as the best white wine in the UK for under a tenner (per bottle equivalent) last month.
You can buy a 2.25l box (equivalent to 3 bottles) in Waitrose or if you’re expecting lots of visitors why not upgrade to a 5L (equivalent to 6.5 bottles) box? Available on our website.
Most Italian families tuck into veal, chicken and beef on Christmas Day. But not in Le Marche region. This beautiful part of Italy, on the Adriatic Coast, is one of the only places where you’ll find people enjoying a roast Turkey on Christmas Day.
Federico Mencaroni’s Marche Bianco and your Christmas lunch makes the perfect partnership. Made from the Verdicchio grape – one of Italy’s finest – it tastes simply stunning with Roast Turkey and all the trimmings.
Vegan and Veggie Feasts
If you’re pulling together a delicious chestnut-laden roast on the 25th look no further than our smooth-as-silk Dolcetto from Italy’s Piedmont region, an area rich in nut trees and wild mushrooms. In fact, this wine was once a favourite of Queen Anne, to whose reign we owe the act of union that created the UK.
Our hugely popular, de-facto vegan Merlot is also a great red to enjoy with friends and family. It has even been known to convert white wine drinkers to the red side. You have been warned.
But wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you eat this year… have a cool yule.
October has been a MASSIVE month for WiR and the #boxwinerevolution as we launched in 224 Waitrose stores across the UK.
Our mission is to change the way people enjoy wine and smash peoples’ misconceptions about wine boxes, so we couldn’t have hoped for a better partner. It’s been a HUGE amount of work and I’d like to thank all of the team for their skills and dedication to have made it all happen.
We also must thank all of you, our customers, for your support of our business to this point. We needed your encouraging remarks and we’d long ago have gone bankrupt without you buying our wine!
To make it even easier for you, use our stockists page to see where you can find our range of Italian craft wines now and if you don’t live near a stockist, you can always buy directly from Waitrose Cellar.
Grazie a tutti! #thinkinsidethebox
It’s #pinotgrigioweek at When in Rome. But, just for clarity, it’s not Pinot Grigio Week anywhere else, just at When in Rome.
Why do we feel the need to celebrate? Well, remember the good old days when British politicians were sensible and competent, but a bit dull and bland? For better or worse, nobody claims that any more, but Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, still suffers from a similar reputation – partially deserved – in the UK as a pale, characterless wine. And we want to change that!
Whilst it’s true that Italy exports more Pinot Grigio to the US than it actually produces, and also that the grape, originally from France, has to be picked earlier in Italy’s warmer climes – and is therefore at risk of losing flavour – if you know where to look, you can find some fabulous Pinots in Italy.
And, at the risk of blowing our own producers’ trumpets, we know where to look. Our Pinot Grigio is spritzy and crisp with distinct notes of apple and pear and all the acidity you’d expect from its early harvested grapes. Thoroughly drinkable at any time, spectacular as an aperitif and also great value because it comes in a box. At When in Rome, you really can have your Pinot and drink it.
With a bit of historical license, you could argue that neither the UK nor Italy would exist without Dolcetto. Our own Queen Anne, during whose reign the Act of Union that created the UK was signed, was a huge fan of Dolcetto from Ovada. Perhaps, without her favourite tipple, she’d never have had the patience to sit through the four months of bilateral negotiations that lead to the Treaty’s signature (David Davis take note!). 140 years later, in Italy, Austrian-imposed tariffs on Piedmontese wines like Dolcetto provoked the province to declare the war against Austria that ultimately led to Italian Unification.
Nothing guarantees peace like unification, just as nothing guarantees a great evening like a fabulous box of wine. Like our Dolcetto, for example, which is an easy–drinking, dry red with a texture as smooth as a bambino’s bottom. Full of young fruit and almond notes, with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste, it pairs perfectly with antipasti, meat sauces and roasted poultry.
Our Dolcetto is produced by Gabriele Gaggino, whose vineyard is set in the stunningly beautiful Monferrato hills of Piedmont, just outside Ovada, and was founded back in the early 1920’s by his great-grandfather, Tommaso. Gabriele is uncharacteristically modest for a Piedmontese wine-maker, though no less passionate for it. He’ll talk you to death about his production techniques, and loves chatting about tractors too (don’t get him started on innovative gear mechanisms). He’s also the first to admit that, while his wines are probably the best in the region, there are many other great winemakers in Piedmont. Truly a man of peace, just like his Dolcetto.
This wine will be available exclusively to our Glitterati subscribers from Tuesday 22nd August. Discover more and sign up here