Wine of the week: briary reinvention of an Italian stalwart

2012 Valpolicella Ripasso wine

2012 Valpolicella Ripasso, Col de la Bastia, Antonio Fattori, Veneto, Italy (£24.99 from The Wine Library, 020-7481 0415,

One of the most wonderful things about the wine trade is bumping into old friends and chatting over a glass of great wine. Tim McLaughlin-Green used to work with me at Bibendum Restaurant nearly a quarter of a century ago. He was a remarkably astute sommelier back then and he has taken his undoubted talents forward and now sources great wines from around the globe for smarty pants restaurants and top-end independent wine merchants. I met up with Tim in May and he showed me his new finds – this exceptional Valpolicella was a revelation.

There are only a handful of Valpols made with the balance and juiciness of this thrilling wine and only someone with Tim’s finely tuned palate could find them for our delectation. Dense, briary, velvety and untroubled by wayward tannins, this is a red wine that will single-handedly re-engage you with this oft-dreary Italian stalwart.

Tim also found an Amarone that took my breath away. Give the newly revamped Appellation Nation (tel: 01285-658511) a call and ask them about their 2008 Terre di San Zeno from Corteforte. This is another wine that will stun you with its elan.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (