English version: Roberto Alcántara
When speaking of wine, gastronomy, and pairings, Italy is one of the first to come to mind, with it being a country full of tradition, culture, family rites, beaches, isles and breath-taking landscapes. The country itself invites us to relish in la dolce vita.
Speaking of wines, Italy is one of the world’s top producers, with a consistently impressive quality. The sheer diversity in grape and region types is humongous, and each producer creates broths for all types of palettes. However, we chose to centre on the most exclusive products from our favourite regions: Tuscany and Piedmont.
Located in Tuscany, particularly in the Montalcino region, the Denominazione di Origine Controlata E Garantita (DOCG) Brunello di Montalcino produces some of the most exclusive and scarce wines in Italy, with great aging potential. Brunellos, as wine afficionados often call them, create the outstanding Biondi-Santi, the most iconic and traditional wine in the area. Our first recommendation is precisely the Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Greppo Anatta 2013, which, despite being relatively young with only 8 years of age, clearly shows the nuances of true potential.
A deep garnet colour, the consistency is excellent and young. Persistent cherry, liquorice, and violets invade the nose as soon as the bottle is opened, while the mouth is assaulted by a dry, strong wine with a silky and refined tannin. Plum, cherry and rose petals can be tasted through the long finish.
Also from Tuscany, the Super Tuscan wines emerge as a shinning star. While not an official denomination, the Super Tuscan name is used to describe wines originally made in defiance of the Chianti DOCG. Strict restrictions were met with defiance, producers deciding to use international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in addition to the regional Sangiovese. This resulted in spectacular wines which were largely disregarded at first, but with time, the Super Tuscans have become prestigious and sought after by collectors and consumers alike.
From Argiano, the renowned Brunello producer, our second recommendation is Solengo 2016. A mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah, the Solengo is a wine to be enjoyed young, but with an incredible aging capacity. Should you choose to taste it now, however, we recommend opening it an hour before consuming it. It has a deep ruby colour and a dense consistency, while plums, blackberries, cherry, and tobacco come to the nose. The taste is strong, refined and complex, with a perfect structure, and plum, berry, lilac and spice hints. The very long finish pairs well with mushroom risotto and creamy sauces.
The second region to explore is Piedmont, an area that guards two of the world’s most sought-after variants: Barolo and Barbaresco.
The wines from Piedmont fully express their terroir and are usually very similar to wines produced in Burgundy, France, because of the way producers treat the soil. Wines from the regions are made from a unique grape type, Nebbiolo, which offers wines of excellent quality and complexity, favoured by the foods they are paired with.
Our next selection is the Vietti Barolo Castiglione del Bosco 2016. Vietti is one of the most well-known Barolo producers world-wide. The Castiglione is a red wine of a deep ruby and kind cherry scent, accompanied by strawberry, earthy tones and anise hints. The long end is comforting and goes well with boar meat and truffle dishes.
Our last suggestion comes from a producer that has recently produced wines of true excellence: Nada Fiorenzo. In this region we can find unique expressions of the Nebbolo grape, and the nada Fiorenzo Barbaresco 2016 is an exceptional red wine from this variety. Pale ruby and deep garnet accompany the rose and cherry fragrances. Strong plum, cherry and strawberry jelly mix with pepper and rose petals in mouth, creating a dry, balanced wine with a silky and refined tannin. Long in its ending, it’s ideal to pair with meat and mature cheese.