Italian wine

Lunch at Ecco to sample Italian wine - not an invitation I was able to resist. Both more than lived up to my expectations but the added delight was meeting Ivano Reali, Castello di Gabbiano's Managing Director. He lives just a stone's throw from the a grand castle that sits atop of the Gabbiano estate and has been a part of Tuscan history for over 900 years.

There are three core wines in the Gabbiano range, a rose, pinot grigio and a chianti, all priced around $18. There's also Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva, plus two new blends Alleanza and Bellenzza. The new blends include varieties not usually legally allowed to comprise an Italian red wine.

I was particularly taken with the crisp, dry rose which is made from Sangiovese grapes and has hints of cherries and berries.

If you can't visit Tuscany and dine at the Il Cavaliere Restaurant at the Castello, you can at least get your taste of Tuscany from a bottle. Find it at Freestyle Tout in the Valley, Caxton Hotel, Drinx At Sandgate, the Full Moon At Shorncliffe, Biagio Restaurant, Il Secondo and Spagalinis in Brisbane, Chill On Tedder and the Balcony Bar & Restaurant at the Gold Coast and Voodoos Mooloolaba,The Deck Restaurant, Mapleton Tavern and Castros Bar Restaurant on the Sunshine Coast.