It was fitting that we hosted our recent Riecine wine dinner in Manicomio (Italian for Mad House!) in Chelsea recently, and were delighted that Sean O’ Callaghan, winemaker there for the past 24 years, was able to talk us through his extraordinarily delicious wines.
I think it is probably the first time I have seen him shed the ripped jeans in favour of some very natty Chinos such clearly is the esteem in which he held the audience, who were magnificent. Vocal, engaged, enthused and extremely thirsty.
We began with his Improvisazione Pinot Noir 2009; a limited offering of only 300 bts of which we bought the lion’s share. It is wonderful earthy, raspberry infused, moreish and certainly reflects Seans very sensitive approach and the quality of the fruit.
On to his IGT 2010 in a very fancy Burgundy bottle with a wrap-around label. This is the new incarnation of this Chianti Reserva which we drank from Magnum in 2000 to compare. The 10 is flirty and fun and dangerously drinkable, notes of black cherry, cinnamon, clove lovely persistence. The 2000 showed some evolution but very serious, gorgeous intensity and balance and demonstrates the virtue of keeping a few bottles back to enjoy in their dotage.
Next a pair of my personal favourites from Sean being La Gioia ( Joy ) from 2009 – wonderful concentration, layers of deep dark cherry fruit but with a lovely lift making it heavenly with grilled meat, a long life ahead of it. Then 1999 La Gioia which was impeccable. Drinking really well now but no sign of fatigue.
To finish a glass of Sebastiano; Sean’s late harvest sweet wine which was perfect to give us that sugar lift to take us out into the London night.
A truly gifted winemaker, a sensational individual and we are very blessed to work with this 5 star estate.