May Your Days Be Merry and Bright…

And may all your Christmases … and wines… be white!

Italian Grapevine is going to dedicate two posts to a review of the year’s highlights – the best of the reds and the whites we’ve sampled this year. Granted, it was a tough year: practically no wine fairs, no travel, no restaurants. For heaven’s sake, you couldn’t even invite people in for a meal, for fear of contracting the darn Covid! For those of us who live alone, this meant no really exceptional vintages. Who wants to drink a truly stunning bottle alone? So we didn’t even raid the cellar. But we also did not want to ‘drink down’ either – if it’s going to be your last bottle, you don’t want it to be mediocre. Which means the wines I am going to talk about here are delicious and accessible. In Italian, you would call them a chicca – real tidbits! So get out your pens – it’s time to take notes!

Can I just say, I have always loved blanc de noir, even as a child. Loved the name. Loved the taste. Did not know why until I grew up and became a sommelier. Oh, Pinot Noir, you little devil you! This delightful bubbly hails from Lambrusco Land – Emilia Romagna – but it is a metodo classico, which means it was made using the Champagne method and not the Martinotti-Charmat method used for that region’s more famous red bubbly. And this one is Pas dosé, the latest trend in sparkling wine (which means absolutely no added sugars, not even in the liqueur d’expédition).

Check out Lini910 as a producer; they hail from Correggio. Yes, that is the name of a famous Renaissance artist, and it is where he is from. Sparkling wine is always meant to be shared, and this one was, one starry summer night in 2020… There were far too few of those effervescent evenings in this annus horribilis!

Enjoy the beautiful Correggio art! Clearly this is an area for masterpieces…

Another confession: I am partial to Viognier. I’ve probably said that before. But how this grape grows in Italian terroir, well, si lascia bere they say in Italian – it lets itself be drunk – meaning it is easy, but not in a cheap way. This Conte Guicciardini Tuscan interpretation merits more than just a couple of stars. By the way, is anyone else as interested in the Geminidi of Santa Lucia as I am? (I’m talking about the Geminid meteor shower!) Tonight, weather permitting, you can grab another glimpse of one of Mother Nature’s best fireworks shows. Last night I stopped counting when I got to 10…

Another Tuscan White surprise was this Castelluccio from Tamburini Agricola, a Trebbiano-Malvasia blend, perfect for aperitivo or with light dishes.

2020 was a time for international wines as well: I indulged in some South African Chenin Blanc, which was easy enough to access online.

Fresh and mineral with great fruity notes, Chenin Blanc is one of my favorite grape varieties and South Africa excels!

And what to say of this Chablis Grand Cru? A special wine on a special night, just pre-Covid enough that we were carefree to enjoy…

Another memorable French white was this Chassagne-Montrachet dug out of the cellar to accompany a tasty foie gras de canard… One of the few ways to travel this year was to gastronomically transport yourself with the tastes of another place.

But as Dorothy taught us: there’s no place like home. And never was that more true than with my homeboys, Diego and Paolo Bosoni, and their award-winning interpretations of that Ligurian native grape variety par excellence, Vermentino.

Vermentino at its best!

Lucky enough to have them in my own backyard (see previous posts on Cantine Lvnae).


Happy Holidays from Italian Grapevine!

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