Drinking Well: Episode Two – Italy
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.
To listen via Spotify or Apple Music, follow the links below. Alternatively, search “Drinking Well with Berry Bros. & Rudd” in your preferred podcast platform.
About Davy Żyw
Davy is one of our Fine Wine Buyers. He arrived at Berry Bros. & Rudd in 2018 with a background as a Buyer and a fine wine sommelier. Today, he is custodian of the Italian wine range at Berry Bros. & Rudd; with a special passion for introducing emerging producers to our customers.
About Chris Pollington
Chris has more than two decades of experience at Berry Bros. & Rudd. He is a self-confessed Italophile, who loves the vast range and complexity of styles found in the country. As a long-standing Account Manager, Chris is skilled at helping his customers build and shape their collections.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EPISODE
Discover Davy and Chris’s favourite producers and vintages
What was the bottle of wine that gave you that “epiphany moment”?
Davy My love of Italian wine comes from my family who are based 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 provided me with my first “Eureka!” moment. I tasted vintages from the early ’90s when I must have been around 15 or 16 years old. 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 di Montalcino. The ’16 vintage 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, launching in April. It’s created wines with incredible elegance, freshness and really expressive style. I’m really looking forward to introducing them to our customers.
Which Italian producers are you particularly excited about at the moment?
Davy In Brunello there’s an absolutely wonderful producer we’ve been working with for years: Podere Scopetone. They’re a small family outfit from Tuscany that we all need to fill our cellars with.
Looking further north to Barolo, there’s a lot of interesting trends and producers emerging in the region. One producer I’d really like to highlight is Mauro Veglio, the current owner’s nephew, Alessandro is changing the direction of the wines his family have historically produced. He favours a different oak regime, using larger botti and separating out the single vineyards. The upcoming ’18 vintage will be totally defining for his wine style.