It was a beautiful day in central London, which really brought our venue - LSO St Luke's - to life. The 18th-century Grade 1 listed Hawksmoor church set the perfect tone for our event; stylish and sophisticated, but something a little bit different.
It was our first event here, and we'd love to return. The space was large and roomy, overlooked by a balcony and complete with grand piano and high, vaulted ceilings - perfect for the hustle and bustle of our tasting.
With the sun shining we kicked off the day with our trade tasting, which included two masterclasses hosted by Walter Speller, as well as the opportunity to speak with the producers in person and taste some highlights from our Italian portfolio.
Our first masterclass was a Querciabella Camartina vertical tasting from 1996 to 2010, which was a terrific opportunity to focus on this magnificent wine. "The story of Sangiovese" was the second masterclass, where we explored different expressions of the grape using examples from all over Tuscany. It was a busy afternoon with sommeliers, wine critics and even a tv crew in attendance! (Watch out for the Steven Spurrier documentary to follow - hope they caught our good side!)
From 6.30pm we opened the event to our private customers, who demonstrated an impressive keeness for Italian Wines by showing up even before the doors opened!
Many of the producer tables were busy from the moment the event started to the very end, and it was fabulous to hear first-hand that many of you discovered unexpected favourites and finally had the chance to taste wines you'd not been able to before. The Armit Wines team had a great time meeting and catching up with their customers, and it was great to see so many of you there.
If you'd like to place an order for any of the wines you tasted at the Italian Tasting 2015 simply contact your account manager or email email@example.com.
During the event we also asked you for your own tasting notes and to tweet them using the hashtag 'armititalian', for the chance to wine a magnum of X. Many of you did and we are pleased to announce the winner, chosen at random, is 'The Independent Wine Review' (@). Congratulations!
A big thank you to all staff, producers and suppliers who were involved in the event and contributed to it being a huge success.
If you have any feedback on the event please don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your thoughts. Check out the full photo album on our Facebook page now.
Some team favourites:
2012 Solea, Luca Roagna,Piedmont (£140.00 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
An unusual blend of Chardonnay and white juice from Nebbiolo. Difficult to compare to anything else, but striking purity and minerality alongside a beguiling smoky nose remind me of both Burgundy and Loire. Truly unique and very compelling. This is a wine to keep tasting over and over as the white flowers, toasty oak, pithy lemon and chalky texture continue to develop.
2011 Barolo Falletto, Bruno Giacosa, Piedmont (£600.00 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
Much is said about the towering maestro of Piedmont, Bruno Giacosa. With the spotlight on the man himself, the quality of his holdings in the region are often overlooked. Falletto and Asili are arguably two of the best, if not the best, sites in Piedmont. Due to the high altitude, Giacosa always tends to perform admirably in warm vintages and the 2011 Falletto lays testament to this. There is wonderful concentration and softness of fruit giving this wine great expression; think fresh strawberry and cherry notes supported by silky, textured tannins adding structure. Layer upon layer of complexity is characterised by white truffles, leather and spice at the fore. The most astonishing achievement is the hallmark elegance achieved behind all this expression. This is really what makes the wine ethereal, almost otherworldly. The best wine of the night for me.
2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Sesti, Tuscany (£195.00 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
One of our consistently favourite Brunello and unsurprisingly they've achieved great things in 2010. A smoky, intense nose leads on to an elegant yet textured palate. This is light on its feet considering the warmth some Brunello 2010s exhibit, a testament to the special terroir and altitude of Castello di Argiano. Chewy red fruit and a leathery savouriness underpin this still tight but well balanced and poised Brunello. Delicious but will definitely benefit from a few years in the cellar.
2010 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Capoverso, Tuscany (£107.70 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
This blend of Sangiovese and Merlot tickles the nose with elegant notes of morello cherries and fresh blueberries. On the palate this Montepulciano is refined with hints of chocolate and gorgeous red fruits. The two varieties play almost instantly and harmoniously together, as the soft tannins deliver you towards an intense mineral ending that never seems to stop. A truly, noble wine.
2013 Pietradolce Etna Rosso, Pietradolce, Sicily (£67.65 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
This was showing beautifully last night and really epitomises the quality coming from Sicily at the moment. Local varietal Nerello Mascalese offers succulent red fruit with structure and power, and this Rosso is a wonderful example.
A very expressive and generous bouquet of strawberries, redcurrants and notes of sweet brambles explode from the glass. This is pale in colour but do not be fooled as there is power and real va va voom on the palate. Lots of sweet fruit is backed up by silky tannins and uplifting freshness. The minerality comes from the volcanic soils of Mt Etna and with hints of spice sneaking in on the finish this delicious wine has extraordinary depth. Pietradolce's Etna Rosso will accompany charcuterie, hard cheeses and light lunches perfectly. For me though, I would lightly chill it and serve it with a rare roast beef sandwhich (complete with spicy rocket and a dollop of horseradish).
2011 Morellino di Scansano Riserva, Fattoria Le Pupille, Tuscany (£87.45 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
This is the wine that began it all for Le Pupille and as an example of what Sangiovese can do in this part of the Maremma, look no further. This wine shows class and composure, combining both sweet fruit and savoury elements with background spice and pepper. Tannins are supporting yet succulent and in the glass it just gets better and better, suggesting a very bright future. At under £20/bt, this is a sure-fire winner.
2013 Askos Verdeca, Masseria Li Veli, Valle d'Itria IGT, Puglia (£72.65 Per 6 Bottles In Bond)
Full, rich and complex with hints of spice. Sweet and sour fruits: orange and grapefruit over a core of minerality. Very vibrant and joyful with zippy acidity, this Verdeca enlivens the palate and begs for salty seafood. Incredibly moreish and quite astonishingly good value.
- Harpers - 10th March 2015: How Armit's Italian tasting turned Justin Keay in to a believer