Renato Trestini was perhaps more than any other individual responsible for introducing quality Italian wines to the UK market. In 1969 he was working in London as a barman at Dukes Hotel in St. James when he heard the call. “I’m going to be a wine merchant”, he suddenly knew. It was a revelation, not quite perhaps on a par with that of Saul of Tarsus, but with this similarity: that it would shape the rest of his life.
Every year, around mid-February, the wine producers of Tuscany put aside their political squabbling and competitive argy-bargy for a short time and treat the world’s wine press to a series of surprisingly well planned and co-ordinated tastings of the various creations of the heartland of Italian fine wine.
At the beginning of August, Italy is already preparing for harvest which is expected to be earlier than usual all over the country from the “metodo classico” grapes of Franciacorta, to the whites and reds of the south. A very hot summer, with very little rain, has some producers already comparing 2017 with the extreme 2003 vintage.