I love Italian food, but I know absolutely
nothing about Italian wine. (My personal cellar is over 50% French, with an affinity for pinot noir, champagne, Cremant d'Alsace, and white Burgundies.) Aside from the occasional glass of Chianti
that I'd order with pasta, Prosecco, Lambrusco, and one particular domestic Nero
d'Avola that has been a consistent favorite of mine for the past year,
I have always pictured most Italian wines to be too robust for my
palate. Until now.
During a recent lunch, I got to try several pretty fantastic Italian wines. We started off with the 2007 Cantina Terlano Terlaner - a nice, floral white wine with stone fruit notes, a little on the drier side. Next, a 2007 Cos Pojo di Lupo, a general crowd pleasing Nero d'Avola. Somewhere between the pasta and the meat course, we had 1996 Produttori del Barbaresco- Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja .
The wine director at Bar Bambino recommended a Barolo which she
described using the words "ripe peach" - very unusual for a red wine.
She wasn't kidding. The 2004 Parusso Mariondino was poured after being
decanted for half an hour or so, and brought with it a fruity and plush
nose that undoubtedly smelled like peaches. Mouth-watering and
luscious, nice balance with velvety tannins, and a smooth finish. Two
bottles later, I am absolutely in love with this wine.
The last wine brought to the table was the NV Martelletti Brachetto, a sparkling red sweet wine that was a pleasant end cap to the litany of wines we'd tried. After five shining examples of wines that I could wrap my head around, I am now
seriously curious about Italy's wine offerings.
Which got me to thinking - what else have I been missing out on because of my
previous bias against Super Tuscans and other highly tannic Italian wines?
Italy, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.