Second Chance Summer yields first-rate wines

After starring in a BBC Two documentary series, Rob Seddon has launched his own company, exporting Italian wines to the UK and Ireland, as Peter Ranscombe find outs.

I’LL confess that I’m not a big fan of reality TV, but one show had me hooked this spring.

BBC Two’s Second Chance Summer followed the adventures of a group of Brits in Tuscany as they tried to turn an old farmhouse into a bed and breakfast-cum-restaurant, while tending to its vineyards and olive groves.

And one character in particular really stood out for me; Rob Seddon took like a duck to water when it came to caring for the vines and he left the show wanting to stay in Italy and work in the wine trade.

His story was so compelling that I even emailed friends in the drinks industry encouraging them to watch the show on iPlayer – when was the last time I did that?

Now, Seddon has founded his own company to export Italian wines back to his native Blighty.

His business partner at Jackson & Seddon is his five-year-old English springer spaniel, officially called “Sunraycourt Benedict the First” but better known as Jackson.

Seddon is working with smaller producers that don’t already have a toe-hold in the UK market and he’s offering a range of boxes through his wine club to help drinkers explore Italy’s wines.

His offerings begin with the “Discovery Box” (£50), which features three organic wines produced in central Italy, and advance through 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 culminate with the “Odyssey Box” (£540 for an annual subscription).

First rate wines

I was really impressed with the three bottles in the first “Discovery Box”, which included the 2015 Vittorini Marche Bianco Crocifisso, with lots of lemon and grapefruit aromas on the nose, along with a twist of lemon sherbet.

I was expecting the wine to be light in body after smelling the fresh aromas, but it actually had a surprisingly-rounded feeling in the mouth, thanks to its unorthodox combination of pecorino white grapes and red sangiovese, with the wine’s tingling acidity matched by the concentrated grapefruit and lemon flavours.

Next up came my favourite from the trio, the 2013 San Gabriel Arcangelo Pavone, a gorgeous sangiovese red, with enticing aromas of red cherries, cinnamon and cloves. It’s a fruit bomb with structure, thanks to its fresh acidity and rounded tannins being really well-integrated.

The red cherries are joined by red plums and vanilla in the mouth and there’s a definite warmth from the 15% alcohol by volume. Delicious on its own, but with enough body to stand-up to food too.

Finally, the 2013 Il Civettaio Poggio Al Commessario – which is made from a blend of 65% sangiovese, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 15% merlot – demonstrated how well wines from central Italy can pair with red meat. The firm tannins and savoury backbone to this wine would make it an ideal accompaniment to one of the massive steaks of which Seddon keeps posting pictures and videos in his Instagram feed.

On the nose, it’s full of wood smoke, damp earth, vanilla, red cherries, blackcurrants and blackberries, with the red fruit coming to the fore on the palate to balance the tannins. I love the sound of Il Civettaio’s vermentino too.

The show may have been called Second Chance Summer, but these are definitely first-rate wines.