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My Cellar

Bubbles: On the Wine-ding Road with Laytons

Recently Michael Robins, our Wholesale Director, embarked on a trip to Italy to visit our prosecco producer. This is his story…

Perhaps I am getting too old and cynical about wine trips: been there, done that, bought the postcard, got the t-shirt. Yes, I am lucky and have experienced events which for most people would be profound, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that truly cannot be topped. I mean, I have dined in the vineyards of Clos Apalta, high up in the Colchagua valley of Chile, tasted Le Montrachet Grand Cru with the late Anne Claude Leflaive at her domaine in Burgundy, and drank (not tasted) 1982 Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, plus many, many more exceptional experiences. So when it came to venturing to Italy to meet our prosecco agency, Bortolin Angelo, I thought “this will be a walk in the park!!”

Oh the joys of complacency…

To describe the trip of less than two days of being the very best is belittling the work of the Bortolin family and of land they tend. It obviously helps that I already think the DOCG prosecco of Bortolin is astonishingly good, and the Rive de Guia Cuvee among my very favourite sparkling wines (including champagne.)

But the sheer beauty of the land and the vineyards, the passion to make the very best Valdobbiadene prosecco, the sense of community, the hospitality and friendliness of the people, the amazing local food, the humour … who else would have a vending machine full of prosecco right beside a vineyard?! Needless to say the trips was made extra pleasurable by the availability of prosecco by the bucket load.

Sometimes we require experiences of the unexpected to shake us free of our preconceptions, and to provide a little perspective on the things we come to consider part and parcel of everyday. This was by far and away my favourite wine trip and one that taught me never to be complacent at having such a wonderful job.

Michael Robins, Wholesale Director