Francone – comparing two big Italian red classics

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Francone Barbaresco & Barbera

Francone – comparing two big Italian red classics “The best way to arrive in Neive is to skirt the magnificent rows of Nebbiolo lining the road that leaves Alba and passes through Tre Stelle, then Barbaresco.” So wrote the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, in 1999. He went on to say, “Towards the end of summer, there is a stupendous array of …

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Peter Zemmer, “Giatl” – a unique Pinot Grigio Riserva

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Peter Zemmer, Giatl Pinot Grigio Riserva AA DOC

Peter Zemmer, “Giatl” – a unique Pinot Grigio Riserva Heading north on the A22 (Autostrada del Brennero), you’ll arrive in the Alto Adige (Südtirol) region of NE Italy. In this southernmost part, fruit trees and vines flank the motorway. Here lies the pretty and tranquil village of Cortina ssdv, or Cortina sulla Strada del Vino. It’s the smallest village on …

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Albarossa from Bricco dei Guazzi in Piemonte

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Bricco dei Guazzi Albarossa

Albarossa from Bricco dei Guazzi in Piemonte What is Albarossa? Good question. It’s a relatively unknown Italian red grape variety, mostly grown in Piemonte, Northern Italy. Piemonte is famous for Nebbiolo (think Barolo and Barbaresco) and Barbera. And that’s a clue to this high-quality grape variety with an interesting backstory. While many Italian varieties have ancient origins, from mutations and …

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Diversity discovery in Valpolicella, Part 1

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The Diversity of Valpolicella

Diversity discovery in Valpolicella, Part 1 Part 1 of this article explores the diversity of Valpolicella; concerning grapes, styles, laws, terroirs, and winegrowing philosophies. Then Part 2  features twelve recommended Valpolicella wines illustrating these features. So, what do we think of when we think of Valpolicella? Is it: A: A cheap red quaffing wine without merit produced in vast quantity for supermarkets? or B: …

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Valpolicella – Discovering Diversity Part 2

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Valpolicella Marogne, aka Terraces

Valpolicella – Discovering Diversity Part 2 Part 1 of this article was about the diversity found in Valpolicella; in grapes, styles, designations, terroirs, winegrowing, and philosophies. This Part 2 features a dozen great examples of Valpolicella wines designed to illustrate these points. They are also arranged in pairs to compare and contrast. Such is the strength-in-depth within Valpolicella that on another day, …

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Trebbiano di Soave – the comeback

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Trebbiano di Soave

Trebbiano di Soave – the comeback Trebbiano di Soave is, alongside Garganega, one of the mainstays of Soave. Under the current rules, Soave allows the inclusion of it up to 30%. Other non-aromatic white grape varieties now only have a 5% maximum. Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Manzoni are those that spring to mind. At the same time, it’s Garganega that’s …

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Lessini Durello – Exciting Fizz from the Veneto

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Lessini Durello glass and panorama

 Lessini Durello – Exciting Fizz from the Veneto Between Verona and Vicenza in Northern Italy lies a currently obscure DOC, based on a little known Italian white grape variety called Durella. Eclipsed by Venetian vinous heavyweights such as Valpolicella, Soave and Prosecco, the small enclave of Lessini Durello nevertheless makes unique sparkling wines. Now, some thirty years after becoming a …

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Spoletino. I say Spoletino; you say Trebbiano

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Harvesting Trebbiano Spoletino, growing up trees at Tabarrini

Spoletino.  I say Spoletino; you say Trebbiano I say Spoletino; you say Trebbiano. Let’s call the whole thing off.* In Umbria, there resides a brilliant yet still obscure white grape variety, called Trebbiano Spoletino. It grows around the hilltop towns of Montefalco and neighbouring Spoleto, near Perugia. What’s in a name? Yes, the name Trebbiano does it no favours. Trebbiano …

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Montefalco Sagrantino. Tannins, time, and transformation.

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Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco - Sagrantino

Montefalco Sagrantino. Tannins, time, and transformation. Sagrantino is a fascinating Italian native red grape variety. It’s capable of making outstanding red wines in its homeland around Montefalco in Umbria. This grape has a long history. Despite this, it has only recently acquired success, due to the extraordinary rise of the dry Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG. It was just in 1979 that this …

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Lagrein from Cantina Bolzano: Taber Riserva

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Cantina Bolzano / Kellerai Bozen: Lagrein and more

Lagrein from Cantina Bolzano: Taber Riserva Lagrein is an Italian native red grape variety, grown mostly in Trentino-Alto Adige since ancient times. Lagrien usually makes a monovarietal wine but does also feature in blends. Arguably, Lagrein wines are best from around Bolzano, the capital of the Alto Adige. Indeed, the Benedictine monks of Gries Abbey near Bolzano were famous for …

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