Escape to a room with a view of Italy with this six pack of reds.
As the weather cools, it’s time to turn to comforting wines to accompany familiar, slow cooked dishes. Particularly important in these confusing times. Italy is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement and fittingly there’s an abundance of native red varieties to match. Beginning our journey with barbera and nebbiolo from Piedmont, we’ll head east to Valtellina featuring the native chiavennasca. On the autostrada south, a stop off in Chianti is a must, before meandering below Rome to Campania to sample a fleet footed aglianico. To complete our southern migration we’ll travel to Sicily’s Vittoria DOC, right to the heel of the boot, with a fragrant frappato. Salute!
2018 G.B. Burlotto Aves Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont $55
G.B. Burlotto, based in Verduno, are highly respected producers. They were the first estate to sell Barolo in bottle, awarding it the respect and care it deserved. Great grandson, Fabio Alessandria is now the gatekeeper to this historical place. While he respects the traditional winemaking that has been passed down, his wines behold freshness and delicacy. This older vine selection barbera is a classic example with black cherries and olives, thyme and black pepper.
2018 Brezza Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont $43
Another much respected traditional producer, the Brezza family have been in the Commune of Barolo since 1885, farming their plots organically from the beginning. Proudly managed by fourth generation Enzo Brezza who continues his family’s legacy, whilst adding innovation at the same time. Lighter soils give the wines a lifted floral perfume and softer more approachable tannins, making for delicious drinking now.
2013 Nino Negri Valtellina Superiore Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo), Lombardy $47
The Valtellina is a region rich in history, where ancient terraces are planted to vines trained low, to catch all the available meagre mountain sunlight to ripen red grapes. Well under the alpine influence, nebbiolo is known as chiavennasca. At these dizzying heights, nebbiolo has beautiful floral top notes of rose and violets, with a fineness on the palate that doesn’t compromise its meaty intensity. Situated in the 15th century Quadrio Castle, the Nino Negri winery is as memorable as their wines.
2016 Le Corti Chianti, Sangiovese, Tuscany $41
With roots tracing back to the 13th century, the Corsini family run one of the oldest estates in Chianti, with current custodian Duccio Corsini the 22nd generation! Located in the northernmost part of Chianti Classico, the temperatures are cooler, making lighter framed wines with elegance and poise, not foregoing its trademark sangiovese grip.
2016 Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Irpinia Aglianico, Campania, Italy $45
The volcanic soils of Campania are highly praised for growing grapes (both white and red) with nerve and texture. The local red grape, aglianico (al-yan-i-koh) makes powerful reds of density, structure – and balance! Not an easy feat given this grape’s naturally high tannin levels. Despite the stifling heat of Campania, the grapes for this wine are picked late into vintage. A result of the combination of soil type, altitude, and aglianico’s natural obstinacy!
2017 Donnafugata Bell’Assai Frappato, Sicily $45
A world away from gritty Palermo lies Vittoria, toward the south eastern tip of sun-baked Sicily. Here the hot Mediterranean sun is tempered by sea breezes and cool nighttime temperatures. The island’s own frappato grapes express their land with poise and clarity. Showing rose petal and violet aromatics, fresh strawberries and raspberries on the palate and bright finish.
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