The Wine Guy
My friends are currently in Italy, staying in a bed and breakfast on Lake Como. It’s a beautiful time of year there, much like Northern Vermont; but instead of apples, they’re pressing grapes from vineyards in Lombardy.
Nino Negri Quadrio Valtellina Superiore 2015, ($21.99), established in 1897, Nino Negri is the premier estate producing wine in the Valtellina DOCG in Italy’s Lombardy region. The success of Nino Negri and the greater Valtellina region is due largely to the efforts of winemaker Casimiro Maule who has worked at the estate since 1971, his entire professional life. In 2007, Casimiro was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Gambero Rosso, the authority in Italian wine. This beauty, with a dark garnet-red color, shows distinctive, fine aromas of small fruits, raspberry preserves, roses and violets, with an herbal note. In the mouth, the wine has full, lively tart fruit flavors, elegant tannins and a lingering aftertaste, with traces of prunes and toasty oak. Veal chops, anyone?
Roscato Rosso Dolce Sweet Red,Non-Vintage,($14.99),Roscato is an irresistible, delicately sweet, gently fizzy red wine from the northern Italian region of Lombardy. Made from three native grape varieties grown in this beautiful region for centuries – Croatina, Teroldego and Lagrein – Roscato makes a wonderful aperitif and is also incredibly food-friendly.
Roscato seamlessly combines a long-held grape growing tradition with the flair of modern winemaking techniques and style. The result is a wine of enticing character that perfectly meets the surging demand for sweet red blends. Brilliant ruby red in the glass with intense aromas of blackberries and ripe wild berries. This wine is fresh, lively and frizzante with a soft lingering finish. Highly versatile. A great aperitif and equally splendid with tomato-based sauces, classic Italian dishes and spicy foods. Enjoy chilled.
Italy’s best-loved, but least-known sparkling wines are called Franciacorta.Montenisa Franciacorta Brut NV ( $32.00) is the result of a careful selection of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and a small quantity of Pinot Nero grapes. The first fermentation takes place partly in stainless steel vats and partly in barriques, and the second in the bottles, where the wine ages in contact with the yeasts for at least 30 months. This is a great sparkling wine at a good price.
Bellavista Franciacorta, Cuvee Brut, NV ( $50.00) Bellavista is arguably Italy’s finest producer of sparkling wine. Its vintage and non-vintage Franciacorta wines exhibit great elegance and balance. The estate produces a full range of sparkling wines and its Cuvee Brut, a predominantly Chardonnay sparkler with an elegant, lush mouth feel, is one of the estate’s best sparklers.
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