The Cellar: Berlucchi + Avignonesi
Friday, April 25, 2014
Italy remains the world’s largest producer of wine. One of the things that continues to amaze me about Italian wine is not only the thousands different types and styles of wine produced, but that a lot of Italian wine remain great values. This week features two such wines.
This week’s first wine is an outstanding, traditionally made sparkling wine from Lombardy. I recently featured ‘Italy’s Champagne region’ - Franciacorta - and figured I would follow-up this week with another, more readily available, example. This Franciacorta is made by the #1 (in terms of volume) ‘Metodo Classico’ sparkling wine producer in Italy, the famed Guido Berlucchi Estate. Alongside Franco Ziliani, Guido Berlucchi is often credited for having been the first to understand the winegrowing potential of Franciacorta and the first to bottle a sparkling wine under the label ‘Franciacorta’ – that was in 1961. The $35 Berlucchi Franciacorta non-vintage Brut is a sparkling blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir matured for a minimum of 24 months. This wine features aromas of baked green apple and pears. On the palate the aromas are replicated with the addition of citrus. The bubbles are dense, yet smooth. Great wine!
This week’s second wine represents everything I love about a great Rosso Di Montepulciano, arguably one of Italy’s best ‘everyday’ red table wines; it is absolutely delicious, can be consumed by itself as well as with an array of food and finally, it is very reasonably priced (under $20). Montepulciano (the region, not to be confused with the grape of the same name) is one of Tuscany’s southernmost appellations with its vineyards surrounding the town of Montepulciano. Regulations of the appellation, amended in 1999, allow Rosso di Montepulciano to have less Sangiovese (70%) than the ‘Nobile’, and more Canaiolo, as well as other varieties such as Mammolo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The best producers however insist on keeping Sangiovese front and center in their Rossos. Avignonesi’s Rosso is almost exclusively Sangiovese (96%). The wine is aged for 5 months in a mix of barriques and oak casks with an additional 3 months in bottle allowing the wine to come together. This is a bright and juicy example. Well structured and dry, this wine displays ripe red cherries, dark plum and herbal forest floor. It finishes bright with lingering acidity.
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 about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.
Related Slideshow: 10 New England Wine Getaways
Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineya
Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton is much more than just a winery—it is a place to get away from the stresses of life and indulge your senses, a place to try new things, a place to focus on you. The vineyard is open every day, and invites you to come for a tasting and tour. Try their Petite Red, Vidal Blanc, and many more of their distinctive wines.
162 W Main Road, Little Compton, RI. (401) 635-8486.
Visit Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth to sample their estate grown and produced wine, made in small batches. While at the estate, try seven different wines and keep the wine glass for only $12. While you are tasting, take in the gorgeous views of both the vineyard and river. Besides tasting the wines, Greenvale also invites customers to tour the winery and learn about the history and process of winemaking at the vineyard.
582 Wapping Road, Portsmouth, RI. (401) 847-3777.
Maugle Sierra Vineyards
For a trip to a vineyard that includes much more than just wine, hop over the border to Ledyard, CT, to check out Maugle Sierra Vineyards. The vineyard hosts live music on Fridays and Sundays to compliment your wine tasting experience. Pack a dinner or light fare and enjoy a tasting session in the Sierra Room while you take in the sunset.
825 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard, CT. (860) 464-2987.
Nickle Creek Vineyards
Nickle Creek Vineyard is a family owned and operated Rhode Island wine treasure. The winery, located in Foster, makes it their mission to handcraft the most unique, high quality wines in the business. All wines are created in small batches, giving them a distinctly unique taste. This weekend, visit their tasting room to try their variety of wines. On your way out, be sure to pick up a bottle of Foster Nights to get you through those chilly New England evenings.
12 King Road, Foster, RI. (401) 369-3694.
Nashoba Valley Winery
Take the bite off the winter chill this weekend and take a drive to Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. The winery hosts tasting events everyday from 10am-4:30pm For $5, receive a free tasting glass and samples of up to five different wines. Some favorites include Strawberry Rhubarb Wine, Holiday Special Cranberry Apple (a new release in November 2013), and New English Cider. If you are in the mood for something other than wine (if that’s possible), check out their beer selection as well!
100 Wattaquadock Hill Road, Bolton, MA. (978) 779-5521.
Bishop’s Orchards Winery
The wines from Bishop’s Orchards Winery and Farm Market in Guilford, CT, have won over 179 medals since the winery opened in 2005. The tasting room at Bishop’s is open seven days a week year round, so no time is off-limits for wine tasting. Head over on the weekend to enjoy a winery tour pre or post tasting session. While visiting the winery, also be sure to check out the market for fresh baked goodies.
1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT. (203) 453-2338.
Diamond Hill Vineyards
For a cool twist on classic wine labels, look no further than Diamond Hill Vineyard in Cumberland. At Diamond Hill, you can get custom designed wine labels perfect for any occasion. If you’re interested in tasting the wines, visit their elegant tasting room for samples of their high quality wines such as Cranberry Apple, Estate Pinot Noir, or Blackberry.
3145 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI. (401) 333-2751.
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery
Tucked away on the southern coast of Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, located about an hour’s drive from Worcester, is worth the trip. For only $10, you can take home a special edition etched wine glass and enjoy a tasting of up to six of their award-winning wines. While the tasting room is open Monday-Saturday, free winery tours are also offered to the public every Saturday from 1-3pm.
417 Hixbridge Rd, Westport, MA. (508) 636-3423.
Found on the southern Massachusetts coast about 30 minutes outside of Providence, is Travessia Winery in New Bedford. This micro-winery puts a twist on traditional wine culture with its cool urban flair. Travessia is open for sales and tastings Wednesday-Sunday, and invites customers to come in and enjoy their unique variety of wines.
760 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA. (774) 929-6534.
- The Cellar: Franciacorta – Italy’s Champagne
- The Cellar: Beaujolais for the Season
- The Cellar: California Red Blends
- The Cellar: Discoveries from France’s Loire Valley
- The Cellar: Fresh Austrian Flavors
- The Cellar: Great Wines for Grilling
- The Cellar: Italian Wines for Summer
- The Cellar: Portuguese Discoveries
- The Cellar: Summer Flavors from Coastal Vineyards
- The Cellar: The Cheese Plate in Warren
- The Cellar: Value Wines for Every Day
- The Cellar: Wines to Pair with Steak + Sushi
- The Cellar: Don’t Miss The 2013 Boston Wine Expo
- The Cellar: Red Wines To Serve on Christmas
- The Cellar: Westport Rivers Vineyard + Winery
- The Cellar: How to Preserve and Store Wine
- The Cellar: Reserve Cava, Riesling + the Perfect Port
- The Cellar: 2 Great Wines for Entertaining
- The Cellar: Bordeaux Wines Under $20
- The Cellar: California Steals Under $20
- The Cellar: Discoveries from Northern Italy
- The Cellar: Fresh Flavors from Australia
- The Cellar: Great Wines for Spring Grilling
- The Cellar: Local Favorites for Summer
- The Cellar: Reds for a Cozy Weekend
- The Cellar: Summer Sippers
- The Cellar: Three Crowd-Pleasers for Under $20
- The Cellar: Washington State Stand-Outs
- The Cellar: Zinfandel + Chardonnay
- The Cellar: Field Blends
- The Cellar: Red Wines for Chilly Winter Nights
- The Cellar: Wines From New Zealand + Australia
- The Cellar: Inexpensive Summer Sauvignon Blancs
- The Cellar: Riesling, Pinot + Cabernet
- The Cellar: 3 Discoveries to Buy Right Now
- The Cellar: Box Wines
- The Cellar: Coastal Wine Trail’s Running Brook Vineyards
- The Cellar: Discoveries from the Pacific Northwest
- The Cellar: Fumé Blanc + French Fusion
- The Cellar: Great Wines for Summer Grilling
- The Cellar: Napa Valley Deals Under $20
- The Cellar: South African Wines Under $20
- The Cellar: Summer Values from Portugal
- The Cellar: Three Discoveries to Buy Right Now
- The Cellar: Whites From Unusual Grapes
- The Cellar: 21 Great Wines For Thanksgiving Day
- The Cellar: French Malbec + Gewürztraminer
- The Cellar: Report From Napa Valley
- The Cellar: Wines That Get Better With Time
- The Cellar: Italian Reds + Whites
- The Cellar: Spanish Wines From Ribera del Duero
- The Cellar: 3 French Wines at Great Prices
- The Cellar: Budget Blended Wines
- The Cellar: Coastal Wine Trail’s Truro Vineyards
- The Cellar: Food + Wine Pairings
- The Cellar: Great Buys from Spain + Portugal
- The Cellar: Great Wines from Big Companies
- The Cellar: Napa Valley Finds
- The Cellar: South African Wines to Love
- The Cellar: Summery Sauvignon Blancs
- The Cellar: Top Wines of 2010
- The Cellar: Wine Finds from Austria
- The Cellar: 3 Finds From The ‘New’ Campus Fine Wines
- The Cellar: French Values
- The Cellar: Sipping Wines For Spring
- The Cellar: French Wine Finds For Spring
- The Cellar: Oregon Pinot Gris + Washington Rosé
- The Cellar: Sparkling Wines From France + California
- The Cellar: 3 Great Chardonnays
- The Cellar: Budget Bubbles for New Year’s Eve
- The Cellar: Delicious Wine from France’s Loire Valley
- The Cellar: For Best Values, Look to Portugal
- The Cellar: Great Finds from France’s Rhone Valley
- The Cellar: Great Wines to Pair with Spicy Foods
- The Cellar: New Zealand + South African Finds
- The Cellar: Spanish Reds for Cozy Nights
- The Cellar: Syrah Wines
- The Cellar: Travessia Urban Winery
- The Cellar: Wine, Cheese + Chocolate Festival
- The Cellar: 4 Great Sparkling Wines for New Year’s Eve
- The Cellar: French Whites + Italian Reds
- The Cellar: Spanish Wine Under $10
- The Cellar: Fumé Blanc + Saint-Emilion
- The Cellar: Picket Fence Pinot Noir + Boxler Reserve Edelzwicker
- The Cellar: Summer Values from Portugal
- The Cellar: A Pair of Italian Wines Perfect for the Holidays
- The Cellar: 3 Must-Haves for Under $20
- The Cellar: Budget-Friendly Blends from Italy + Portugal
- The Cellar: Delicious, Inexpensive Sparkling Wines
- The Cellar: France’s Rhone Valley
- The Cellar: Great Reds for Under $20
- The Cellar: Italian Discoveries
- The Cellar: New Zealand’s World-Class Wines
- The Cellar: Sparkling Wines for New Year’s Eve
- The Cellar: Taste-Test Winners Over Expensive Bottles
- The Cellar: Two Great Value Wines for Right Now
- The Cellar: Wines for Summer Seafood
- The Cellar: Barrington’s Grapes & Grains
- The Cellar: Great Values From Spain + Portugal
- The Cellar: Spanish Wines For Under $20