This red is sheer pleasure: not demanding, not challenging, just delicious. It’s pale garnet in colour, has a perfume of roses and wild strawberries and flavours of strawberries and freshly ground white pepper. It’s soft, juicy, dry, oak-free and very low in tannin, making it as good a partner for tuna and other fish as for cured and air-dried hams, bresaola, or chicken. Now for the background: Verduno is in the north west corner of Barolo, but Verduno Pelaverga could hardly be less like Barolo. About the only thing the two have in common, apart from colour, is the people who grow the grapes: most growers of Pelaverga Piccolo, the variety of Verduno, are also Barolo producers. Indeed, they could turn their Pelaverga Piccolo vineyards over to Nebbiolo and make much more expensive Barolo. All credit to them that they have resisted the lure of easy lucre in favour of stopping Pelaverga Piccolo dying out. Today there’s a grand total of 18 hectares of Verduno Pelaverga, which must make it one of the tiniest appellations in the wine world. It's also one of the most delightful.
Bel Colle Verduno Pelaverga 2016, Piedmont, Italy
£15.95, Jeroboams (six shops in London) and www.jeroboams.co.uk