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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More