Indigenous Varieties of Italy

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Italian powerhouse and current Wine Director of Press Club Mauro Cirilli returned to the SF Wine Center for another knockout class featuring the indigenous varieties of Italy.  Without skipping a beat, Mauro headed strait for the wines as he gave the class his valuable insights to these native wonders that make Italy the incredibly diverse country that it is.  The class was amazed to find out that whereas France is the home to around 50 native varieties, Italy’s indigenous roster reaches upwards of 2,000; each with their own quirks and expressions of their local cuisine and terroir.

Making our way down through our lineup of wines representing regions all over Italy, we tasted some natives from Piemonte, Campania, Veneto, Friuli, and Sicily.  Each varietal presented was carefully chosen in order to exemplify several aspects such as the areas’ climate, soil type, and traditional winemaking practices.  Mauro gave the class excellent background information on each of these grapes, as well as typical aromatics and characteristics that are found in them.  Each grape was truly unique, articulating a wide array of flavors from the beautifully floral Cortese, to the luscious custardy Friulano, to the dusty herbal Raboso.  It is truly phenomenal that of hundreds upon thousands of indigenous varieties, they each have their certain something that distinguishes them from the rest.  But that’s Italy for you!

My Favorite Wine of the Night?

Bera Brachetto 2011 – Piemonte

An exceptionally superb example of Brachetto, this vibrant wine was sweet to the touch with aromas of strawberry, red maraschino cherries, and geranium.  Semi-sweet on the palate with light tannin and lively acidity, this wine finished off the experience with notes of apricots and ruby red grapefruit.

Wine List

  1. Pio Cesare Cortese di Gavi 2010 – Piemonte
  2. Tenuta di Altavilla Villa Matilde Greco di Tufo 2009 – Campania
  3. Azienda Agricola Cos Pithos Bianco Grecanico 2010 – Sicilia
  4. Bastianich Tocai Friulano Plus 2006 – Friuli
  5. Bera Brachetto 2011 – Piemonte
  6. Passopisciaro Rosso Sicilia  2005 – Sicily
  7. Cascina Bongiovanni Dolcetto d’Alba 2010 – Piemonte
  8. Maccari Piave Templaris Raboso 1998 – Veneto
  9. Mastroberadino Radici Taurasi 2000 – Campania
  10. Allegrini Monovitigno Corvina Veronese La Poja 1999 – Valpolicella

Thanks to Mauro and Brian for a stellar class!

-Julie Albin

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