The Authentic Italian Unicorn – Merlino

In short, Merlino is an authentic Italian Unicorn. The Unicorn is a rare and fabulous beast, wild and free, and a symbol of purity and grace. Only the Virgin Mary could ever tame it. That sounds like the perfect description of Merlino to me!

– Paul Howard, The Wine Alchemy

Merlino Rosso Fortificato 1602 IGT

This might be one of our favourite quotes in regards to describing a wine. Paul Howard sampled the Merlino by Pojer e Sandri and enjoyed it so much that he went on to purchase multiple bottles from The Archive. He’s written a fascinating article on his site, The Wine Alchemy, which breaks down this fascinating wine. He explores its delicious, yet unusual taste. He explains its method of creation. And he offers his advice on exactly how you can enjoy this wonderful wine at home.

 

 

This really is quite a unique wine, which is actually referred to as a “liqueur wine”. It’s purple in colour and you’ll experience notes of cocoa, coffee and caramel. Howard noted that the primary notes are red berry and cherry, and after ten minutes or so in the glass, he picked up herbal notes too.

For us, this wine is to be enjoyed on an evening with a chocolate dessert, and we love that Howard felt the same, “…Alternatively, a glass for quiet contemplation is all you need.”.

He suggests dark chocolate, coffee ice cream, tiramisu, but even strawberries and cheese as the perfect pairing for the Merlino and we couldn’t agree more.

The Merlino is currently out of stock, but we’re delighted to be restocking shortly. If you’d like to be on the waiting list for a bottle, please email daniel@thevices.co.uk and we’ll make sure you’re one of the first to know.

Click HERE to read the full article from Paul Howard.


The Perfect Easter Wine Pairings

This Easter might be a bit different, but we can still spend the morning hunting for Easter Eggs in the garden before sitting down for a delicious Sunday dinner.

We asked Daniel Curro for his top recommendations on wine pairings to accompany our Easter feast, including a beef dinner, a chicken dinner or a delicious nut roast.

Browse his recommendations below before shopping The Archive.

 

A Lamb Dinner - Shoulder; Leg or the Rack

Taurasi Riserva DOCG 2012 by Sanpaolo Azienda Agraria

Region: Campania

Grape Varieties: Irpinia Aglianico 100%

The Taurasi Riserva comes from vineyards located in the province of Avellino where the soil has a volcanic origin. This wine also called “The Barolo of the South” is aged for at least 4 years of which, more than 2 is in French oak barrique. The Sanpaolo Taurasi offers an interesting nose, marked by aromas of strawberry and orange marmalade. The palate is full-bodied and powerful, ending with a dry and long finish

It makes the best pairing for a Lamb dish even better if cooked on a barbecue. 

 

Taurasi Riserva DOCG

 

A Beef Dinner - For Rib of Beef

Barolo Bussia Riserva DOCG 2011 by Livia Fontana

Region: Piemonte

Grape varieties: Nebbiolo 100%

The Barolo Bussia Riserva is a cru. The vineyards are in the council of Monforte D’Alba, and this wine would be a perfect accompaniment to a beef dish for Easter. Around 2,000 bottles are produced a year, aged for 4 years in oak barrels. A classic Barolo with a very elegant and persistent finish.

It is a garnet red colour, with an intense and balanced, harmonious bouquet. Pleasantly dry, whilst full and velvety on the palate. A full bodied wine, with a lot of aromas of red fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and black cherries. It’s a great wine with refined tannins; elegant and persistent with a long finish.

A Chicken Dinner

Bianco Faye 2015 , Vigneti delle Dolomiti by Poter and Sandri

Region: Trentino-Alto Adige

Grape Varieties:Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco

The first vintage of Bianco Faye dates back to 1985.

The first chardonnay vineyard used for the Bianco Faye had within it 10% of Pinot Bianco old vines that they decided to use in the blend.

The grapes are harvested together and the entire batch is vinified in barriques. This wine has complex bouquet with notes recalling vanilla, toasted almonds, hazelnuts, hay, musk and flint. On the palate it is dry with richness and yet an important structure. If you like whites that have been aged in wood, the creaminess of this wine will go really well with a Chicken Roast, cooked perhaps with some aromatics herb and maybe a touch of butter. 

A Pork Dinner - Shoulder or Leg

Effe 55, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2014

Region: Tuscany

Grape variety: 100% Sangiovese Grosso

This Chianti Classico is aged for almost 2 years in wood and a further 12 months in bottle. The Effe 55 has distinct aromas of small red berries including Marasca Cherries preserved in alcohol, accompanied by hints of chocolate, berries and well-integrated woody notes. It is full-bodied, warm and potent in the mouth with a striking tannic texture that makes the wine very drinkable and elegant. Its good acidity and minerality guarantee a fresh, long finish. I would pair this with a beautifully cooked pork roast either in the oven or on the barbecue. I would personally season the pork with some fennel seeds, lemon garlic and some thyme. The freshness of these ingredients will go really well with this great Chianti.

A Nut roast

Integer Zibibbo Terre Siciliane IGP 2018

Region: Sicily

Grape Variety: 100% Zibibbo

The Integer is a wine integrated in the territory through traditional experimentation. From the Latin word integer, that means whole, this wine is made exclusively from local varieties that have been found in their natural environment. This wine is aromatically explosive, drinkable and profound. Grapefruit, wild herbs, balsamic, smoky aromas and flavours. All this aromas will be a great pairing for a nut and I would indulge my self by finishing the cooking of the roast by pouring a small glass of the same wine all over it. A wine with great complexity that will balance very well, all the aromas of the Nut Roast for an Easter treat.  


Why Italian wines?

Italian wine is produced in every single region of Italy, and it’s now the biggest producer of wine in the world, followed closely by France. Wine production is a huge part of Italian history, as the country has been producing for over 4000 years. And let’s not forget that Italy is the birthplace of Prosecco; Italy’s most famous sparkling wine.

There is of course a huge cultural association now too, with the average Italian consuming 37 litres per year. Wine is carefully chosen to complement a meal with the family, or a night of conversation with friends. Its taste and story is discussed and valued. The taste of the wine is important, but so is the region it was produced and the winery that nurtured it into fruition.

Italy is home to a great number of different grape varieties and many of them are rarely seen outside of the country. Each one of them has a story to tell, some precise characteristics that describe the grape and where it comes from — they are all different from one another. You have wines that you can enjoy young, and others that require more time to evolve. You have a wine for every different palate, that no matter what you will be able to remember.” said our co-founder, Daniel Curro.

 

Wine is clearly an important to Daniel and his co-founder Moreno Carbone. Both Italian, they were brought up with an appreciation for wine, and with a soft-spot for Italian produce. Speaking of his family life in Italy, Daniel said,I grew up in a family where drinking good wine and eating good food was very important. I still remember my parents going to visit a new vineyard, buying and storing new wines in our cellar. When I started tasting wine I understood that there was a world to discover. I started to study in order to know more about this fascinating world, and then this naturally evolved into buying wine to create a personal collection.”.

The Vices York was always going to be a beautiful showcase of Italian wine but opening our wine store, The Archive, gave an even bigger opportunity to really celebrate what Italy has to offer. When a customer books a complimentary 45 minute shopping session, they have exclusive access to both the collection and to Daniel’s expertise.

Italy is a treasure trove for any wine lover. Taste your way through the various regions to notice the variety in fragrance and to understand the differences in the grapes.

 

Wines from across Italy

Daniel's preferred region: It’s always difficult to identify a preferred region as they all offer something unique, but if I have to I would probably go with my emotions and say Puglia, with its Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes.