Castello di Verrazzano – the treasure of Tuscany


Castello di Verrazzano has a long, enduring history. Located in the heart of Tuscany the property housed many aristocratic families over the years with a winemaking history dating back to 1150.

Found in the Chianti Classico area, between the Italian cities of Florence and Siena, Castello di Verrazzano holds a beautiful position that was firstly an Etruscan settlement and later, Roman. In the 7th Century the castle became the property of the most famous resident, Giovanni da Verrazzano, an explorer who discovered the bay of New York and drew up the first map of the East coast of the U.S.

In 1964 he was honoured by the city of New York by naming the famous bridge, that links Brooklyn and Staten Island, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Three stones were taken from the Italian castle foundations and placed at the beginning of the bridge, and that same day, three stones from the bridge foundations were placed on the façade of the villa.

When the last of the Verrazzano family died in 1819, they were succeeded by the Ridolfi family of Florence. The Marquis Ridolfi, who is well known in Florence’s more recent history as the founder of Fiorentina, Florence’s Football Club, is also the mastermind of the Florence Maggio Musicale Festival.

Now owned by the Cappellini family, the great tradition of winemaking continues. From 1958, when they took over the castle, they set about restoring the villa, surrounding agriculture and vineyards using traditional methods, respecting the historical and architectonic features.

There are 105 acres of vines thriving in Verrazzano’s limestone-rich soil, which is reputedly responsible for the singular blend of muscularity and finesse evident in the Verrazzano wines. In addition to its famous and historic wines, Castello di Verrazzano is also a farm, producing a wide range of different produce, including olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and grappa.

As a company who sources and imports wines from all over the world we are proud to stock a range of Verrazzano reds from the Minituscan Rosso IGT to the impressive Supertuscan Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. See them all here.



Fabulous Amarone! – In The Press

Amarone, a wonderfully rich and powerful dry red that, despite the trend for lighter wines, has become popular after years of obscurity. With an abv that varies from 14% to a hefty 17.5% this wine is not for the faint hearted, but it rewards the brave with aromas of black cherry, fig, dark chocolate and a rich, velvety palate. We have two Amarone’s and both of them feature well in the results of the Decanter Amarone Panel Tasting, which is impressive, as the judges had to sip and sniff their way through 166 wines. A tough job.


 Amarone Classico Reserva, Pret a Porter, Bottega 2011


The presentation of this fabulous Amarone is sublime –  with a studded leather label and a presentation box that evokes a vintage suitcase. However, it’s not just about the looks, as the wine inside the bottle is divine.

The judges awarded this wine a coveted 93 (out of 100) and it was therefore ‘Highly Recommended‘.

Here’s what they said…

‘Immediately vanilla and creamy blackcurrant aromas spring forth from the glass. These are followed by intense plums and chocolate in a sensual mix with caramel, prunes and smoked almonds. Mouthwatering acidity brings it all together. Decanter Magazine May 2017

Buy now …



Amarone Classico Lenotti Estate 2011

Lenotti wines never fail to excite – from inexpensive ‘house’ wines to the less every-day bottles such as this one. Also look at their ‘baby Amarone’ Valpolicella Classico Ripasso which, due to a similar winemaking process where the juice is ‘re-passed’ over Amarone grape skins, it gains extra body and flavour. Anyway, back to the Amarone…

The judges awarded this wine a respectable 87 (out of 100) and it was therefore ‘Recommended‘.

Here’s what they said…

“A wine that is admirably pieced together with sour cherries, plums and clove with aniseed spice coming through underneath. Decanter Magazine May 2017

Buy now …


How to drink better wine for your money

After a short break we’re back in The Sheffield Telegraph with another wine column. This, the 5th in the series, was published not long after the Chancellors Budget, which got us thinking how to beat the taxman and sip on superior wine.

It’s Spring, one of our favourite times of year as the gloom of winter is behind us, the days are growing longer and the sap is rising – but then, so are the taxes. The Budget has been announced recently and each year, we at Le Bon Vin and other retailers, worry how the chancellor will attack our businesses with ever-increasing excise duty hikes.  It makes life as a wine merchant increasingly hard. This year it’s a significant rise – 9p on a standard bottle of wine and 10p for sparkling, never mind a whopping 36p on spirits! It’s worth noting that in France, the homeland of the founder of Le Bon Vin, consumers pay just 6 pence in duty on an average bottle of sparkling wine and 3 pence paid on still wine.
But it’s not all doom and gloom as, while it’s going to cost a little more for your bottle, there is a way to beat the taxman and sip on superior wine for your money.  At Le Bon Vin, we often tell customers that the value for money in an £10 bottle of wine is significantly higher than a £5 bottle of wine, even though you’ll be spending £5 more and here’s why:

Duty is now up to £2.16 on still wines (that are between 5.5-15% ABV) add on the VAT at 20% and your £4.99 bottle has a disproportionate total of £3 of tax. This leaves just £2 for the retailer and winemaker to make a fair profit. Say the retailer requires a reasonable margin then the remainder of 75p must cover costs of not only the wine, but the bottle, the label, packaging, transportation and wholesale profits. Luckily, at Le Bon Vin, we cut out the middleman and import most of our wine, so the money we save is passed on to our customers where possible.

So, after all these costs we find that the actual value of the wine is somewhere in the region of 5p. Yet, if you spend a little more, for example £6.99, then the winemaker has £1.91 to play with, while £7.99 gives them £2.50, etc. At £10 the difference is even more pronounced with the winemaker having £3.66 and if you splash out on a £15 bottle the winemaker will have a whopping £6.58 to tantalise your taste buds. That is a humongous 900% increase on the winemaker’s share in a £5 bottle of plonk.

Maybe it’s time to consider that what we drink is as important as what we eat, as who would savour meat or fish that cost just 5p? Instead you might suspect that it is poor quality and not so very good for you. So, it’s well worth spending a little more on your wine so you will get a much better return on your investment for your taste buds.

A votre santé!