Drinks writer Peter Ranscombe samples the first wines imported by Rob Seddon, the star of BBC Two’s Second Chance Summer television series.
Entrepreneurs are naturally at home in the drinks industry. It’s a sector that’s full of creativity and innovation, giving ambitious individuals the chance to put their ideas to the test.
The latest enthusiast to join their ranks is Rob Seddon, who featured in BBC Two’s Second Chance Summer television series back in the spring. The programme chronicled the escapades of a group of Brits in Tuscany as they tried to turn an old farmhouse into a bed and breakfast-cum-restaurant, while at the same time tending to its vineyards and olive groves.
I don’t normally watch “reality” TV, but the mixture of Tuscany’s beautiful landscape, Toby Jones’s gentle narration and the romance of making wine had me hooked. Seddon’s was the standout story for me – by the end of the series, he knew he wanted to work in the wine industry.
Now, he’s fulfilled that dream. His new company, Jackson & Seddon, is importing organic wines from small producers in Italy and selling them via a recently-launched wine club.
His “business partner” is Jackson, a five-year-old English springer spaniel, officially called “Sunraycourt Benedict the First”. The pair makes for an engaging combination and has won legions of fans on social media.
The wine club offers a series of boxes to help members explore the wines of Seddon’s beloved Italy. The “Discovery Box” (£50) features three organic wines produced in the centre of the country, and is followed by the “Journey Box” (£145 for three wines each month for three months), the “Explorer Box” (£275 for three wines each month for six months) and finally the “Odyssey Box” (£540 for an annual subscription).
The three bottles in the initial “Discovery Box” were very impressive. After smelling the lemon and grapefruit aromas on the nose, along with a twist of lemon sherbet, I was expecting the 2015 Vittorini Marche Bianco Crocifisso to be light-bodied, but it surprised me with its roundness, which came from its unusual combination of white pecorino grapes and red sangiovese.
Judging by his Instagram photos, Seddon shares my passion for steak and the 2013 Il Civettaio Poggio Al Commessario – a blend of 65% sangiovese, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 15% merlot – would make an ideal match to a juicy piece of beef. Wood smoke, damp earth, vanilla and a mix of red and black fruit on the nose graduate into crisper red cherry flavours on the palate.
My favourite from the trio was the 2013 San Gabriel Arcangelo Pavone, which balanced concentrated red cherry, vanilla and cinnamon flavours with enough fresh acidity and tannin to work with food, all wrapped up in a warming 15% alcohol by volume. Top-notch sangiovese.
The inspiration and motivation Seddon received on Second Chance Summer clearly led him to discover some first-rate wines in Italy. Keep an eye on this entrepreneurial importer.
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