Italy is (a) wine country. So of course, surely, you’ve heard the names of these wines and the (grapes) from which they're made: Amarone (Corvino, Molinera, Rondinella), Barolo and Barbaresco (Nebbiolo), Barbero, Brunello (Sangiovese), Chianti (Sangiovese), Montepulciano, Negroamaro, and Primitivo (Zinfandel in California!). Less well-known but equally delectable white Italian wines include Arneis, Chardonnay, Cortese (Gavi) Greco, Moscato, Soave (Garganega) and Vermentino. So perhaps you've had one, more, or many, depending on the restaurants you frequented before Covid19 hit, and maybe once, years ago (or last fall) you had a very lousy cheap one at a college party where a brave soul put $7 on the line for a bottle of sweet, watery, insipid and essentially undrinkable Lambrusco. And yet,…

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The Barolo region of Itlay's Piedmont is home to one of the world's most distinctive wines...and often one of its more expensive. There are 59 wine regions in Piedmont (Pee-ah-mon-tay) and it's home to a lot more great red wines: Barbera, Brachetto, Dolcetto, Friesa, and Grignolia, but for my money, Barolos are what you want. White wines from there include Asti, Gavi, and Arneis. The berries (grapes) of Barolo wines are small, very tannic, rather high in acid, and there's only one variety: Nebbiolo.  Barolos must be at least 13% alcohol and be aged for at least two years in oak and one year in bottle, and those labeled Riserva must be aged at least five years before release, with…

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I know, I know, the wine name is absurdly long.  But trust me, it's great wine. Valpolicella is the region where the wine is made in northeastern Italy called the Veneto.  The grapes are three - possibly three you've never heard of: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Sometimes called a "baby Amarone," the secret to this wine is the Ripasso method—a technique that passes the juice over the skins and seeds from an Amarone fermentation. This sets off another fermentation, taking the cherry fruit flavors of Valpolicella and creating a much richer, spicier wine with more tannin, and a bit more alcohol. You get lots of blackfruit, coffee, figs, and raisins, and much of the intensity and pleasure of Amarones at…

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I know, I know, everyone reaches for Santa Margherita at a holiday party or a restaurant. Hey, they spend a lot of money on advertising and the brand name is well known. But between us, it's not really good wine, and it's absurdly expensive for what you get. That's why the Wine of the week is Maso Canali Trentino Pinot Grigio. Why is this really good wine? Well I could blather on about late-harvested grapes, stainless steel fermentation, lots of contact with the lees, the fact that the same family has been farming there for 500 years, or that they don't do malolactic fermentation. The most important reason, though, is that the good folks at Maso Canali use the Passito…

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