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This wine was in 100% new barriques through the malolactic fermentation, then went into used barrels): Good bright, dark red. Reticent aromas of licorice, graphite and bitter chocolate. Sweeter and more powerful on entry than the Marcenasco, then quite tight in the middle palate, showing the excellent cut of the vintage's better examples. Quite long on the aftertaste, but this very young wine is currently dominated by its major tannins and will need at least six to eight years of cellaring. (Incidentally, the Rocche was in tank on its finings at the time of my visit and was not available for tasting.) -- Stephen Tanzer
Producer: Renato Ratti
Sale Price: $69.99
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Native to Piedmont in north west Italy it makes some of the countries, if not the world's finest and most distinctive wines, with the villages of Barolo and Barbaresco demonstrating the apex of what the grape variety is capable of. Due to it's finiky nature requiring just the right nutrients and the longest growing season, finding vineyard with the right soil and aspect is crucial a factor which partly explains why its accounts for just 3% of the regions production. Wines with Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC on the label are made from grapes grown around the town of Alba. While they don't take on the distinct aromas of tar and coffee attributed Barolo and Barbaresco, the vineyards sandier soils tend to produce wines with delicious soft fruit more appropriate for near term drinking. They also tend to come in at a more wallet appealing price! The grape is still experimented with in a number of different regions across the world, albeit on a small scale, with producers such as Palmina in the central coast of California producing some promising examples.
With vines stretching from its most southerly Mediterranean islands all the way to the foothills of the Alps, Italy has, just behind France and Spain, the most land under vines and exports more than any other country. With dozens of regions,and an even greater number of indigenous varieties particular to those regions, understanding all of Italy's wine can be a thoroughly exciting but lifetime long challenge. The most popular regions include; Piedmont, the home of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Muscato, to name a few; Tuscany, known for Sangiovese, particularly in the Chianti area and the town of Brunello; And thirdly the Veneto, for its Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. Southern Italy's regions; Abruzzo, Campagnia and Puglia, not to forget the islands of Sicily and Sardinia are a great source of food-friendly and very affordable wines.
Along with Tuscany, Piedmont is responsible for most of Italy’s greatest wines. Here, Nebbiolo is the king of grapes with the DOCGs of Barolo and Barbaresco supplying a significant amount of the finest examples. Less expensive, but good value Nebbiolos are made within the larger Langhe DOC which Barolo and Barbaresco are both situated in. Barbera and Dolcetto are the region's other important red grapes. Moscato (Muscat) is the most popular white grape, most of which gets used in making Spumante and Frizzante (semi-sparkling) wines, notably those made in and around the town of Asti. Meanwhile, the region's most popular still white wines are made from Cortese and Arneis. Cortese are mostly made in the province of Alessandria and go by the name Gavi, while Arneis is mainly cultivated in Roero, just north west of Alba.
Red wine is wine made from dark-coloured grape varieties. The color of red differs based on the grapes variety or varieties used.
Interestingly, black grapes yield a juice that is greenish-white. The actual red color comes from anthocyan pigments (also called anthocyanins) from the skin of the grape (exceptions are the relatively uncommon teinturier varieties, which produce a red colored juice). Most of the production centers around the extraction of color and flavor from the grape skin.