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The Cellar: A Pair of Italian Wines Perfect for the Holidays

Friday, December 20, 2013


Treat yourself this holiday season with one of these fantastic wines.

Tis the season to try something new. During this holiday season spoil yourself with some fantastic wines. This week we will be returning to Italy and tasting two wines; a great red from one of my all-time favorite producers and a value bottle of quality bottles I highly suggest for New Years Eve.

2010 Arnaldo-Caprai, Montefalco Rosso, Umbria, Italy

Every wine enthusiast has a couple of ‘wine moments’; i.e. moments where one sip of wine or one bottle shared stands out in the sea of wines one has ever tasted. Maybe it was the wine itself that was special, or maybe it was the occasion that was memorable elevating the otherwise barely quaffable wine into something truly remarkable. One of my most memorable ‘wine moments’ was the first time I tasted the Sagrantino grape variety. This experience got me hooked on Arnaldo-Caprai who is out with a new wine, based on the softer Sangiovese.

The 2010 Montefalco Rosso is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino and 15% Merlot aged for 12 months in Slovenian and French oak barrels with an additional 4 months in bottle prior to being released. This is a much more approachable wine both in terms of price ($20), flavors and structure. Remember the tannic attack from the 100% Sagrantino? Well, there is little of that going on here. Only on the finish does one detect the gripping tannins of its bigger brother. No, this wine has a brighter, redder fruit profile (sour cherries, ripe cranberries, plum) with savory and spicy notes, alongside dusty, chewy tannins lingering on the finish.

NV Ferrari Brut, Trento, Italy

Over the years we have covered many bubbly alternatives to Champagne. Not because Champagnes aren’t almost always delicious, but because they are expensive and almost never values.

A place you probably wouldn’t look for traditionally made sparkling wine is Italy. But the fact is that the country that is famous for its lightly sparkling Moscato d’Asti and fully sparkling Proseccos also makes serious ‘Champagne style’ wines. Ferrari’s ‘Metodo Classico’ wines are some of the best Italy has to offer and are produced at the foothills of the Alps in the town of Trento.

Their $25 NV Brut rivals many $50 Champagnes. This wine is made from 100% handpicked Chardonnay sourced from high elevation vineyards, i.e. vineyards located at between 990 ft. and 2300 ft. elevation. Ferrari ages their Bruts for at least 2 years in contact with the lees before disgorging. This wine needs a minute in the glass to settle and open up (don’t worry the bubbles will still be there). The wine displays lovely toasty aromas, as well as a smoky/mineral note. On the palate the wine is crisp and clean with apple flavors being the most dominant; ripe and baked turning mouthwateringly sour towards the finish with fine bubbles throughout. A good value for $25.


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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