Wines 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:
premiere regions: Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Barbera d’Alba DOC, Nizza DOCG.
premiere regions: Barolo DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, Roero DOCG, Ghemme DOCG, Gattinara DOCG (Piedmont), Valtellina Superiore DOCG (Lombardy).
To discover less expensive regions click here…
premiere regions: Dogliani DOCG, Ovada DOCG, Diano d’Alba DOCG, Dolcetto D’Alba DOC, Dolcetto d’Asti DOC, Dolcetto d’Acqui DOC.
Dolcetto 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).
Barbera 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).
Assuming you know what WTF stands for…
I consider WTF wines to be wines that:
• contain an obscure (less common) wine grape… and/or
• are produced in an unusual region…and/or
• are created with an unorthodox method
Most importantly, when you look at the bottle containing a WTF wine it is extremely difficult to determine what is actually in the bottle OR if you will like it.
Because I am not afraid to try new things I will highlight these wines but only my recommend ones. I will give you some solid information about them and hopefully you will find something NEW and delicious.
My first WTF wine has a simple label that tells the average consumer very little. This wine is made from 100% Dolcetto grapes from Piedmont Italy. It doesn’t say either anywhere, on the front or back label, so you will have to trust me. Dogliani is the region and it is has achieved the top quality level (DOCG). The laws from this region insist that the wine is made from 100% Dolcetto. Oddly enough, Dolcetto means “little sweet” in Italian but Dolcetto is usually used for dry (not sweet) wines. Although Nebbiolo (Barolo/Barberesco) and Barbera (d’Asti/d’Alba) are probably better known, outside of Italy, Dolcetto is a very popular, “goes with anything” wine for Italians. And it is enjoyable young so you can drink Dolcetto while your Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s are aging for the next 10-20 years.
If you can’t find this wine try another 100% Dolcetto from these denominations:
Diano d’Alba DOCG
More to come…
How do you find the best Barolo producers? Thanks to Wine-Searcher for some detective work…they ranked the “king of wines” based on vineyard site rankings.
The “best” regions (in bold) and some recommended producers listed below:
Francia (Serralunga d’Alba)
Villero (Castiglione Falletto)
Monprivato (Castiglione Falletto)- Giuseppe Mascarello
Rocche dell’Annunziata (La Morra)- Renato Ratti
Vigna Rionda (Serralunga d’Alba)- Bruno Giacosa, Luigi Pira, Cappellano
Top Tier: Continue reading
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.
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.