January: Italian Rosso
It’s January, there’s a chill in the air (finally!), and it’s time to tuck into some hearty Italian reds.
2013 Montesecondo Chianti Classico – Silvio and Catalina Messana left Manhattan in 1999 to return to their family farm outside Cerbaia, Italy. Silvio’s father originally purchased the 49 acres of vineyards and olive trees in 1969 and had long sold his fruit to negociants. But Silvio wanted to make his own wine and Catalina convinced him to commit to farming without chemicals. Biodynamics hadn’t quite taken off yet in Italy – Montesecondo was really a pioneer in this movement, especially in Tuscany. This Chianti is lovely and classic to the core.
2013 Sanguineto Rosso di Montepulciano – South of the Chianti Classico zone you’ll find the town of Montepulciano. And there you’ll find Dora Forsoni, her partner Patrizia Castiglioni, and Poderi Sanguineto. The farm has been in Dora’s family for generations and it’s where her father taught her everything she knows about farming and wine. Dora does ALL of the vineyard work by herself, she hunts wild boar, and is probably one of the coolest winemakers on the planet. Her wines are wild and soulful. This Rosso – a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Mammolo – is no exception.
Gastronomist: Barbera d’Asti
2012 Pavia Barbera d’Asti ‘Moliss’ – The Pavia family (Agostino and his sons, Mauro and Giuseppe) makes just three wines -two single vineyard Barbera and one Grignolino. So, they kind of have the Barbera thing on lock. Their Moliss is the perfect example of a traditional food-friendly Barbera – bright acidity, juicy dark cherry fruit, and delicate tannin. Pair with pizza or, really, anything. Fun fact: moliss means the middle son.
2008 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti I Bricchi – This wine shows the other side of Barbera. Aged like a serious Nebbiolo, this single vineyard bottling has the structure to show for it. It’s bold, earthy, spicy and fruit-driven and proves that Barbera can age. Would be great with hearty meat dishes and salty aged cheese.