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The wines that are always in demand

A few weeks ago I wrote about very small production wines and so today I thought that we could read about the other end of the spectrum. I often refer to these major worldwide brands as “the wines that helped pay for our sons to get educated”.

No easy task, and as an example, on February 2, my wife and I, and our youngest son — living in the United States — met in Canada to see a doctor. Well, actually not a doctor on our arrival, but our oldest did receive his PhD before we flew home.

Not the type of doctor that is behaving so bravely with such dedication at this time, but the type that surely will help our world heal through knowledge and understanding in the future.

One weekly newsletter that I read a few days ago was featuring “stay at home Pinot Noirs”. My idea is to mention wines that you will find in most supermarkets. I like to think that we are astute and not easily fooled and so top-selling wines have to be of a good quality and consistently reliable and, indeed, they are.

During my 22 years at Burrows Lightbourn, one wine has always been in demand. It was rather a new idea back then and it was the Marzotto family that first came up with a white wine made from the dusty grey Pinot Grigio grape.

More than 80 years ago, Count Gaetano Marzotto led the revitalisation of an abandoned portion of the Venetian countryside. Here, where rivers from the alps cut through the sun-drenched hills on their winding way to the Mediterranean shore, he created much needed farmlands and restored traditional winemaking in what had been a region of fine vineyards since the time of the Roman Empire.

Employing new agricultural science and a commitment to the needs of the Italian people, Marzotto gave this labour of love the name of his dear wife, Margherita, and the first piece in the mosaic of Santa Margherita was set.

They have always farmed organically and here is what wine critic Wilfred Wong comments on Santa Margherita 2018 Pinot Grigio, “Santa Margherita's Pinot Grigio is one of the most consistent and top-quality Italian wines over a long period of time. Fresh, clean and deliciously crisp. Enjoy its brightness as an aperitif or with seafood dishes”. We list for $22.35.

A candidate for Bermuda's top-selling white wine is Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and we have the 2019 vintage. The Wine Enthusiast magazine describes it in this way: “Bright and fruity, this wine offers notes of passion fruit, citrus, white spice, ginger and grass. There seems to be a touch of residual sugar on the palate to balance the acidity and add texture to the fruit. Crisp, refreshing and citrusy, this checks all of the Marlborough SB boxes.” $22.95.

In all my years in this trade, I have never seen a newly introduced wine take off at the rate of the Australian 19 Crimes Red Blend. Over the past couple of years, this has expanded its range to include The Punishment Pinot Noir, Banished Red Blend, The Uprising, The Warden and Hard Chardonnay. The marketing has been brilliant and who knew that you could be transported to Australia for impersonating an Egyptian, burning clothing or poaching fish from a pond.

The red blend weaves the various flavours of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Grenache together and, along with the warm spiciness of American oak, we have a quite full-bodied wine. It is fair to say that it has a touch of sweetness, but not enough to offend the dryer wine customer. We recently negotiated a bit of a price-brake with the winery and now list it for $19.80.

Today, the winery, started by the Pasqua family in 1925, remains one of the largest family-owned in Italy. They also happen to be the first wine family that I remember meeting, back in the 1970s. On my last visit to our office, on March 17, I joined a Skype call with three of the younger generation, all confined to their own homes at the time. They were being positive during these terrible times in Northern, and now all, of Italy.

Pasqua Sangiovese de Puglia has been a staple of the inexpensive magnum market here for decades, and recently, as increased import duties have affected prices, we have introduced bottles. The wine is quite intense ruby in colour, with a fruity perfume and supple tannins. Magnums are $26.70 and bottles $15.70.

There are also magnums and bottles of Malvasia to offer you a white choice. Its fragrance is subtle and delicate with hints of exotic fruit. It is dry, tangy and well-balanced with good acidity and length. Priced the same as the red.

I did not mention the biggest brand of wine in Bermuda, so maybe a story about Barefoot Cellars at another time.

I have faith in my fellow Bermudians and our guests. Be safe and well!

This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Written by Michael Robinson of Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355)

Family legacy: Gaetano Marzotto, second right, with brothers Stefano, Nicoló and Luca (Photograph courtesy of Santa Margherita USA)

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Published April 03, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 03, 2020 at 9:20 am)

The wines that are always in demand

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