was recently blessed enough to join a work wine tasting event with Armit Wines to showcase one of our company’s honoured producers. An Armit Wines original gem and one that produces one of my legitimate favourite selections of Puglian nectar. In Italy, Puglia to be exact, lies the certified organic, humble and gracious Masseria Li Veli where a focus on local native varieties is embraced. Having recently opened an Italian tapas-style wine bar and bistro in Covent Garden (see here) in this foreign land, this was naturally an idyllic location to showcase their wines in a natural and contemporary setting. Our private downstairs room was idyllic.
On arrival we were suitably prepped with our first evening’s tipple and nibbles as winemaker Alfredo began the evening by charming us with his commentary of knowledge. We listened to the soothing and engaging sounds of Alfredo chant away, educating us on each wine, grape and history. With a selection of some of my favourite Armit wines (all available here of course) it was an evening spent in great wine enthusiasts company and the simple but pleasing dishes on offer.
We kicked things off with the Fiano. A fresh, aromatic, fruity wine. Notes of blossom welcomingly reminded us it was still summer outside and the hints of almonds complemented what have to be the best salted roasted almonds I’ve ever tasted. They even put the olives to shame. For a brief moment we could have been in Puglia…sadly not.
After finding our seats, we were hydrated with the fuller and richer Askos Verdeca. Complex and acidic with lovely minerality it barely hit the sides as we dined on a beautiful selection of sliced meats and cheeses. Light fluffy breads littered the table and were devoured with enthusiasm dipped into the greenest spiciest extra virgin olive oil that clung with determination to our plates with greasy Italian determination.
Before we’d had time to waste another minute on repeating ‘just how good that olive oil was’ our white glasses were cast aside like injured players, in place of the bigger stronger and more sturdy robust foundations of our red glasses ready for some of my favourites. The Masseria with its black fruits and rich tobacco notes was heavenly and a refreshing change. However good it was sadly cast into shadow by my favourite Li Veli offering and a staple in my wine orders…the Askos Susumanelilio. A native grape and part of the Li Veli Askos range where the focus is on almost disappearing native grapes which are captured and praised. A grape that often creases the faces of clients and customers as they either try to pronounce or try to recall this beautiful grape. This I enjoyed with my main dish of choice – softly cooked sea bass with capers, tomatoes and samphire. Simple but a perfect match to the fruity, soft and elegant flavours of the Susumanelilo that has elements of a Pinot Noir in flavour but distinctly carries its own. While others around me dined on equally enviable fresh Orecchiette or roasted chicken we took a moment to enjoy the beautiful wines and continue to hear the history from Alfredo.
Far sooner than we wanted we were well onto the finale and dessert which opened the stage to the star of the sweet wines, the Aleatico Passito which accompanied the decadent and creamy pillows of pistachio ice cream. Dates, figs, liquorice and coffee excited our taste buds as we drowned in Alfredo’s generous servings of this delicious nectar before wandering home in a Li Veli haze and a sincere ambition to return for more.
All wines can be found here at Armit Wines. Look out for future events focusing on many of our other noted and quality producers.