Viva Italia, May 27 - June 23
With a history pre-dating the Roman Empire, wine is embedded in Italian culture and cuisine in a way that someone who hasn’t been there may not understand. All 20 regions produce “vino,” and we in the US import more of it than we do from anywhere else.
Our Viva Italia program is a celebration of the country’s vast diversity. And we are presenting 12 all-star selections from 7 of Italy’s regions, each of which complements our culinary menus because of their crisp, tart, mineral-accented flavors.
There are three bubblies: a dry Prosecco; a dry, hearty red Lambrusco; and a semi-sparkling “frizzante” style Moscato from Piemonte that’s been a mainstay of our dessert menus for years.
None of the white wines are tropically scented or oak-influenced. Each is light, dry and gentle. In other words, versatile with seafood.
Although not widely known in this country, Italy produces vast quantities of dry “Rosato.” Our choice is made with partially dried grapes, a process known as “appassimento,” that concentrates flavors more so than you would commonly find in a pink wine.
Italy is primarily known for red wine. Our selections, from Nero d’Avola to Brunello di Montalcino, share real intensity of berry flavor. There’s bound to be at least one that appeals to your palate.
Whether you try a tasting flight, or savor a bottle as it opens to express subtleties in the glass, we invite you to celebrate Viva Italia! Our featured wines are:
Caposaldo Prosecco Brut, Veneto, NV
This sparkling wine category remains red hot. Crisp, bright and dry, it’s an easy-drinking bubbly with the engaging charm of a fresh baked apple pie. A great starter.
Michele Chiarlo "Nivole" Moscato d'Asti, Piemonte, 2017
Fragrant and delicate, with lavender, peach and apricot aromas, this lightly “frizzante” dessert wine originates near Canelli, homeland of the white Moscato. Named “Nivole,” after the word for “clouds” in the local dialect, it’s been a long standing favorite of ours as an aperitif, or accompaniment to the key lime pie.
Medici Ermete Le Tenute "Solo" Reggiano Dry Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, 2017
A dark red, dry sparkling wine, tangy and cherry-like, with undertones of plum and chocolate. There’s been a resurgence of dry Lambrusco in Italy that we’ve yet to fully experience here. This is medium-bodied, with tart tangy flavors that make it an ideal partner for smoked fish, or other salty flavored dishes.
Bollini Pinot Grigio, Trentino, 2017
From the mountainous region in northern Italy’s “PreAlps” that has distinguished itself for producing tart, pure Pinot Grigio, the Bollini is crisp and smooth, with a distinct melon-like flavor and soft texture. Textbook Pinot Grigio, excellent with lighter fish dishes.
Pighin Sauvignon Blanc, Grave del Friuli, 2017
It’s a well-kept secret how outstanding Italian Sauvignon Blanc can be. Less tropically scented than New Zealand, a bit less tart than the Loire, this estate-grown Friulian wine, produced near the Slovenian border, is lively and citric, with lime, lemongrass, and mineral notes. It’s a charming “one size fits all” seafood accompaniment.
Tenuta di Nozzole "Le Bruniche" Chardonnay, Toscana, 2017
Round and toasty, an un-oaked Chardonnay from one of Tuscany’s top Chianti estates, with medium body, creamy textures, and easy-going ripe apple flavors. This has a purity and finesse that might convert non-believers back to Chardonnay!
Masi "Rosa dei Masi" Dry Rosato Trevenezie, 2018
Italians drink a lot of dry rosé in this style: bright, fresh, with spicy red raspberry notes. Made by Amarone specialists Masi from the Refosco grape, it has a proportion of semi-dried grapes. Very juicy, bright and lingering.
Feudo Maccari “Neré” Nero d'Avola, Sicilia, 2017
This wine is a terrific example of the recent Sicilian Wine Renaissance, made from the island’s star red grape. Boldly flavored, with blackberry, blueberry, tea leaf, and floral aromas. Medium-bodied, and a bit jammy, it’s accented with cloves and pepper. Robust yet silky.
Michele Chiarlo "Cipressi" Barbera Nizza, Piemonte, 2016
Nizza is the elite royalty of the Barbera grape, and the Cipressi Vineyard is one of its most outstanding sites. A rich, mocha-scented, blackberry-like red, medium-to-full in body with a long satisfying finish. Great red wine with fish.
Michele Chiarlo "Reyna" Barbaresco, Piemonte, 2014
Nebbiolo may be the world’s most intriguing red varietal: a superstar in Piedmont’s foggy Langhe hills, virtually non-existent elsewhere. This intense, concentrated Barbaresco is a pure Nebbiolo expression, scented with porcini mushrooms, cherry blossom, and roses. Powerful and lingering on the palate, ideal with a juicy tuna steak, it’s a wine to savor.
Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva, Toscana, 2015
Quintessential Chianti Riserva from the heart of the Classico zone, this is textbook: ripe and tangy, with hints of sweet tobacco, leather and earth. Medium-bodied, and matured for 16 months in French oak barrels, its dried cherry flavors match beautifully with salmon or swordfish.
Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino, Toscana, 2013
Made from pure Sangiovese Grosso, this is the aristocratic legendary red wine of Tuscany, made from grapes grown at nearly 2,000 foot elevations. Full-bodied with floral, tobacco, dried herb and leathery aromatic accents, and concentrated flavors of dark berries. Barrel aged for 3 years, there’s a smoky licorice-like intensity to the flavors. Great with swordfish or tuna.