Northern Italian Reds

 

Dolcetto_NizzaWines of the Week

wines chosen for the 2nd Italian Wine Professional class: The red wines of Northern Italy

starting in the North East the best known grapes are:

 

• Barbera

premiere regions: Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Barbera d’Alba DOC, Nizza DOCG.

• Nebbiolo

premiere regions: Barolo DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, Roero DOCG, Ghemme DOCG, Gattinara DOCG (Piedmont), Valtellina Superiore DOCG (Lombardy).

To discover less expensive regions click here…

• Dolcetto

premiere regions: Dogliani DOCG, Ovada DOCG, Diano d’Alba DOCG, Dolcetto D’Alba DOC, Dolcetto d’Asti DOC, Dolcetto d’Acqui DOC.

The wines:

PioCesare_DolcettoDolcetto means little sweet one but the wines are not sweet. Dolcetto is the least “serious” of the Piedmont wines and is the everyday wine in this region. You drink Dolcetto while your Barolos and Barbaresco’s are aging. This wine from traditional producer Pio Cesare- 2012 Dolcetto d’Alba is stainless steel fermented and aged. It is an elegant wine and like all of the other Dolcetto denominations it is 100% Dolcetto (not a blend).

Prunotto_NizzaBarbera is the most widely grown grape in Piedmont. It can be used to produce various styles of wine depending on the wine maker. The 2009 Prunotto Costamiole Nizza is pretty spectacular on it’s own but is even better with food. The Nizza denomination was a sub zone of Barbera d’Asti until 2014 now Nizza is the only denomination that requires 100% Barbera (also not a blend).

 

100% Italian!

While studying for my Italian Wine Professional Certification I put together a list of the known Italian Denominations that are required by law to use 100% of a grape in the wine.

Most wines, around the world, are blended wines so if you want a true expression of any of these Italian grapes look for these Denominations (in bold) on the label:

Piemonte (Piedmont)

Reds

Barbaresco DOCG (100% Nebbiolo)

Barolo DOCG (100% Nebbiolo)

Diano d’Alba DOCG (100% Dolcetto)

Dogliani DOCG (100% Dolcetto)

Dolcetto di Ovada Superiore/Ovada DOCG (100% Dolcetto)

Dolcetto d’Alba DOC (100% Dolcetto)

Dolcetto d’Asti DOC (100% Dolcetto)

Dolcetto d’Aqcui DOC (100% Dolcetto)

Nizza DOCG (100% Barbera)

Whites

Asti DOCG (100% Moscato)

Erbaluce di Caluso / Caluso DOCG (100% Erbaluce)

Gavi (di Gavi) DOCG (100% Cortese)

 

Toscana (Tuscany)

Reds

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG (100% Sangiovese)

Rosso di Montalcino DOC (100% Sangiovese)

 

Basilicata

Reds

Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG (100% Aglianico)

Aglianico del Vulture DOC (100% Aglianico)

 

Puglia

Red

Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG (100% Primitivo)

 

Umbria

Red

Sagrantino Montefalco DOCG (100% Sagrantino)

 

Veneto

White (dessert/sparkling)

Recioto di Gambellara DOCG (100% Garganega)

 

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I MISSED ANY SO I CAN KEEP THE LIST UPDATED…

 

 

The Best Margherita Pizza- “Secret” Recipe

Living in New York we are very fortunate to have an excellent selection of places to enjoy food and wine. Recently I had some delicious (Neapolitan) pizza-click on the photo for NYC location. Not everyone is as lucky, so I am passing along a “secret” recipe for Margherita Pizza that you can try to perfect at home.

Prego (Italian for “You’re welcome!”)


Some wines that are great with Margherita Pizza (Tolerant Taster approved):

Barbera (d’Asti or d’Alba):

Vietti- Tre Vigne– around $20 and delicious.

Michel Chiarlo– around $10 and pretty easy to find anywhere.

Montepulciano

Masciarelli– under $10 !

Fattoria Le Terrazze (Rosso Conero)- under $20-if you can find it.

good Chianti (doesn’t need to be expensive)-

Monteraponi– harder to find but classic and delicious. Around $20.

Fattoria Viticcio– under $20 and pretty easy to locate.

 

 

#Super Bowl XLVII- BEER vs. WINE

I rarely drink wine at live sporting events.
Wine doesn’t taste great in plastic bottles and cups.  And it just doesn’t feel right.

In the privacy of your home you should drink what you want, but wines are sometimes a better match with food. Try it for yourself, beer vs. wine,  with your favorite Super Bowl dishes.

 If you normally drink lager beer…

(Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois), you are drinking beers that are light bodied, bright and crisp.

Similar white wines would be Pinot Grigio (from Northern Italy), or Sauvignon Blanc (try the Loire Valley, French version). Drink with Chips and Dip!

If you want to try some reds look for low tannin, fresh acid wines like Barbera or Beaujolais (not Nouveau, please). Great with Doritos!

Summer ale (Sam Adams) or Belgian White (Blue Moon) is your thing?

Try white wines with more aromatics like Albariño (Rías Baixas, Spain) or Torrontés (Argentina).

For a slightly more aromatic red you may like a chilled Tempranillo (Rioja/Ribera del Duero), or unoaked Sangiovese.
All great with nachos or chili!

Hefeweizen (wheat) beer fan?

For whites, try Gewürztraminer from Alsace, France. Gewürz (guh-vorts) for short, is spicy and can be dry, or have a little sweetness. Perfect with asian flavored chicken wings.

Another option is Zweigelt, a funky, spicy, but floral red from Austria.

IPA (hop) head?

You might want to try the New Zealand (Marlborough) style of Sauvignon Blanc, grassy with Juicy Fruit (the gum) flavors. Another white wine option is Chenin Blanc (French, not South African) if you want a fuller bodied wine.

“Go to” reds could include Cabernet Franc or Carmenere from Chile.
Also great with chili!

For traditional Ales/Stoudts…

Since they are full bodied there are only a few whites for you, Viognier (northern Rhone, France) or oaked Chardonnay (Burgundy, France).

On the red side, go big or go home! You would probably enjoy full bodied reds like Aglianico (Italy) or Australian Shiraz.
Save these wines for the main course…

For some of my other “Super Bowl” favorites see previous recommendations:

Super Bowl XLV

Super Bowl XLVI

 

As always, please let me know what you think…

Top 100 VALUE wines of 2012

It’s that time of year…Wine Spectator recently released their list of the Top 100 wines of 2012.

Due to personal preferences I can’t tell you whether you will really love all of the wines on the list or not. However, if it is under $20, (I also include exactly $20) and makes this list, it probably is a solid value.

Last years list only contained 12 wines under $20- this years has 27. Also, I am noticing a large number of wines coming from South America.

Hint: just because they might not have made this years list- the 2011 list are still good wines to try!

Here are the VALUES (ranking/Score/Price)…
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