*** Barbican resident Sommelier, Erin Summers, recommends picks from Passione Vino over at 85 Leonard Street.

A short walk from the Barbican is a real hidden gem with one of the greatest selections of Italian wines in London. Wine shop and bar Passione Vino has to be one of my favourite places to discover something new, and their friendly staff are always more than happy to help out with recommendations. Whether you’re looking for something really special and to splash out, or after a midweek tipple, there’s something for every occasion.

My two recommendations for this edition of Barbican Life were both priced at a modest £24 and you definitely get your moneys worth.

First off is a Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Il Lebbio. Now I normally find these wines a bit of a holiday wine – something you enjoy locally, but often a bit underwhelming when you find a bottle back home. The town of San Gimignano in Tuscany is best known for its’ Medieval architecture and soaring towers, but also the local white wine from the grape Vernaccia. A refreshingly light wine, with notes of apricot, peach, ripe lemon peel, some jasmine tea and a finish of bitter almond. Beautiful on it’s own, but also great with light vegetarian dishes or perhaps some seafood.

For the red, I went with a Frappato, which has to be one of my favourite red grape varieties grown in Italy. This particular one is from Lorenzo Piccione di Pianogrillo and is absolutely superb. It’s a vibrant, fragrant, juicy red and perfect for those who like something a bit more on the lighter side with a more fruit forward focus. Strawberries, raspberries, a little touch of spice and white pepper. I would recommend popping this in the fridge for ten to fifteen minutes before serving it, just to add to the freshness of the wine. It would be perfect with a plate of Italian cured meats and cheeses.