Indigenous Varieties of Italy

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

We were thrilled this past Tuesday to welcome our special guest Mauro Cirilli for an exciting class on the indigenous grape varietals that make Italy’s wine industry so puzzling to wine lovers across the globe.  A Venice native now living as a San Francisco local, Mauro is the former wine director for Perbacco and Barbacco Eno Trattoria and currently heads the North American Sommelier Association.  Having spent many years working as a sommelier for prestigious hotels throughout Italy, Mauro felt right at home as he led the class on a voyage through the Italy’s mysterious world of indigenous wines.

Featuring ten different varietals, Mauro briefed the class on the history, terroir conditions, viticulture, and style of wine involved with each one.  As most people in the class had not yet heard of many of these varietals, Mauro was able to enlighten everyone with knowledge and understanding of why these indigenous grapes make Italy so special.

My favorite wines of the night?


Valentini Trebbiano dAbruzzo 1998 Abruzzo

This trebbiano was nothing short of incredible.  Dusty and golden in color, the wine carried aromas of barnyard with canned pineapples and pears.  The remarkably fresh acid for this 14 year old wine was decorated with notes of white pepper, salty minerality, baked bread crust, and a savory bacon finish.


Castello di Verduno Pelaverga Basadone 2010 – Piemonte

A very uncanny type of wine, this Pelaverga exuded rustic aromas of dusty wood, rubber, and a hint of tart red cherry.  Lightly gripping tannin and excellent acidity, this wine definitely grew on me while my palate tasted wood fire, tar, red cherry, and salted peanut skins on the finish.

Special thanks to Mauro and Brian for a very memorable class!

-Julie Albin

Wine List

1. BioVio Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato di Albenga 2010 – Liguria

2. Aia Vecchia Vermentino 2010 – Maremma, Toscana

3. Vietti Arneis 2010 – Roero, Piemonte

4. Valentini Trebbiano dAbruzzo 1998  – Abruzzo

5. Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Enrico Cialdini  – Emilia-Romagna

6. Castello di Verduno Pelaverga Basadone 2010  – Piemonte

7. Cataldi Madonna Montepulciano dAbruzzo 2008 – Abruzzo

8. Cantina Andrian Lagrein Riserva Tor di Lupo 2008 – Trentino Alto-Adige

9. Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino Montefalco 2000  – Umbria

Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture La Firma 2007 – Basilicata

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