Author: Emily O'Hare

Emily O'Hare left her job as head sommelier and wine buyer at London's River Cafe after seven years to spend three months in three different wineries working with three brilliant grape varieties and three fantastic winemakers in Campania, Tuscany and Piedmont. After a magical party on Monte Amiata she decided to follow the casanovas and courtesans she had met at the (fancy dress) party to Florence, and has no desire to leave. She is a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador and writes for Decanter on Italian wine. She hopes to begin teaching the WSET wine program in Florence soon.
May 26, 2016

Chianti Rufina: a hidden treasure

Chianti Rufina is one of the smallest of the Chianti sub-zones, producing far less wine than Chianti Colli Senesi and Chianti Classico, so you’ll be (just about) forgiven for never hearing of it. But seeing “Rufina” after “Chianti” should be read as eagerly as one might dig around an X that marks the spot, for […]
May 6, 2016

Winemaker stories: Charlotte Horton, Castello di Potentino

Fifty years ago, Helga Guinness met an Italian woman at a bus stop on a Greek island and mentioned she was looking for a house. A few months later, Guinness received a telegram: a deposit had been made in her name on a simple farmhouse near the Maremma coast. Guinness bought the property, and in […]
April 10, 2016

How to pair wine with pizza

If you make a mistake when learning to speak Italian, I’ve found the locals are generally very encouraging in their correction. Only once have I find it awkward, the time I stopped in front of a salumeria in Orvieto and asked my older male friend, my boss’s husband what palle di nonno were. But if […]
April 9, 2016

7 tips to survive Vinitaly

  Want to know how to survive Vinitaly? Whether it’s your first time at Italy’s largest wine trade fair or you’re a seasoned expert, you’ve got to have a gameplan. Gameplan. The fair is, as you have probably heard, enormous: 14–15 airport hangars full of wine. Be clear about which producers you want to visit […]
March 3, 2016

The white among the red: Vernaccia

In 1643, Michelangelo Buonarroti wrote that the white wine made from the Vernaccia di San Gimignano grape ‘kisses, licks, bites, slaps and stings’. These are familiar words. The 17th-century poet and diplomat Fulvio Testi wrote something similar about Chianti’s Sangiovese: ‘it bites and kisses and makes you shed sweet tears’.     Our modern wine […]
February 4, 2016

Drink pink in Tuscany

Before starting any wine article I like to consult the books of Hugh. Hugh Johnson is the top god in the wine writing world. He is Zeus. I wondered what ‘Zeus’ wondered about rosé. In his memoir A Life Uncorked, Johnson states that he limits himself to one bottle—with two ‘one can never keep frivolous […]
January 14, 2016

What’s a British winemaker doing in the heart of Chianti Classico?

For those unfamiliar with the wine world, it might come as a surprise to find a Sri Lankan-born British winemaker employed at a Chianti Classico cantina founded by a fellow Englishman and now owned by a Russian businessman. But Sean O’Callaghan, production manager and oenologist at acclaimed
December 15, 2015

Wine pairings for Christmas

After a certain age, Christmas can lose a bit of its magic. Fortunately just as the magic begins to vanish, it becomes legal to drink and we can put the sparkle back into the season.   Special sparklings Italy makes spectacular sparkling wines. Champagne is always a delight, as delicious
November 5, 2015

So you think you know wine?

Tuscany produces some of Italy’s most famous wines, but, like drummers in rock bands, the grape varieties sit anonymously behind their front man, their etichetta, and they are not always so easy to recognise. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti and Chianti Classico, Vin Santo—one might occasionally,

2015: is the glass half full or half empty?

  “The 2015 harvest was amazing, one of the best I’ve seen in 35 years. It reminds me of the 1990. All the grapes were perfectly healthy and ripe, and I have never eaten so many Sangiovese grapes like I have this year.”   This was the response of Giovanni Manetti, owner-winemaker at Fontodi in […]