Piccini Memoro: a house red that thinks it's a port

Piccini Memoro labelYou could be mistaken for thinking that Piccini’s new red is a Portuguese tawny port: it looks like port, it smells like port and at 14% there’s almost enough alcohol in the wine to make it taste like a red wine ‘fortified’ with brandy to turn it into a port. But when the label claims it’s ‘reminiscent of port’ the game’s up - this rich unfortified red is in fact an Italian blend of four different grape varieties from four different regions of Italy.

The new EU wine classification Vino d’Italia allows, for the first time, table wines from more than one Italian region to be blended together and sold under a single label.

Wine making family Piccini have taken this to extremes by blended together wines from the furthermost regions of Italy: Venetian Merlot, Primitivo from Puglia ‘the heel of Italy’, Sicilian Nero d’Avola and a good splosh of Montepulciano from the mid-Italian region of Abruzzo.

Piccini label compassFour wines, four regions - which helps explain what a compass is doing on the brown paper bottle label. But this esoteric choice of design cleverly hides the most important fact about this wine: it is worth paying £9.49 a bottle and even more so at its offer price of £6.49 (Tesco until October 4th).

Aromas of cherry, chocolate covered raisins and a hint of espresso meld nicely into a blend of coffee and tobacco flavours with a sweet edge of dried cherries – which is very reminiscent of Taylors 10 year-old Tawny Port also currently on offer at Tesco at £17.29 (down from £20.29).

Paying half that for a Vino Rosso that tastes like port, and has all the complex flavours of port, is reminiscent of a no brainer.

PG Wine Tips

Piccini Memoro bottlePiccini Memoro Vino Rosso d’Italia

£6.49 Tesco (down from £9.49 until October 4th)

This blended table red tastes of coffee and tobacco flavours with a sweet edge of dried cherries – very port like. Match to hearty tomato dishes or meaty stews, or even the famous cherry and choc dessert, Black Forest gateau.

Piccini Orange Label Chianti

£6.99 Sainsbury’s

Wine from a specific Italian region this time, Tuscany. Aromas of plum, marzipan and Marmite give way to flavours of blackcurrant, unripe raspberry and soy sauce. Fruity, rich and rather nice. Match it to Chinese takeaway, lasagne or anything really.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk