The Brilliant Wines of Northern Italy: Piedmont & Veneto Regions

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  • By Kevin Lepisto
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The Brilliant Wines of Northern Italy:  Piedmont & Veneto Regions

Unlike the sun-saturated, riper wines of the south, the red and white wines of Northern Italy possess a freshness and structure you only find in cooler climates. This is why you'll find many of Italy's most brilliant, accomplished and diverse wines in Piedmont and the Veneto.

I’m hosting two Italian wine tastings this month that I am particularly excited about because they will focus on two Northern Italian wine regions that produce an amazing array of wines that really demonstrate the depth of diversity that Italian wines have to offer. 

 

On Saturday May 18th I’ll be featuring red and white wines from the Veneto region and on Friday May 24th wines from the Piedmont region.  

 

These two wine regions, with their diverse soils and microclimates, produce some of Italy’s most compelling, ageworthy, wines, some of Italy’s greatest every day value wines and everything in between.  

 

Whether you like sparkling wines, dry crisp white wines, sweet wines, light fruity red wines or powerful and rich reds wines, wines from these regions come in all different styles so there is something for everybody.

 

I hope to see you at one or both of these tasting events. I’ll be pouring some new, exciting discoveries and some store favorites that always deliver.

 

Here are some of the wines to be featured:

 

Crisp, Dry White Wines

2017 La Giustiniana ‘Lugarara’ Gavi di Gavi, Piedmont

Gavi di Gavi is a crisp white wine made for serving in the seafood restaurants in Genoa.  La Giustiniana’s Gavi is bright and intense with citrus, apple and white peach flavors and pronounced citrus floral aromas. Their 2017 is medium bodied and fleshy but still refreshing and quite enjoyable.  Gavi matches perfectly with seafood but this Gavi can also handle grilled white meats, hearty salads and vegetable pastas.

$13.99 per bottle

 

2017 Pieropan Soave Classico, Veneto

Pieropan is one of the most historical producers in Soave and the first to produce a wine with the name Soave on the label in the 1930’s.  They consistently produce top quality Soave wines year after year and always are a store favorite.  Their entry level Soave is fresh and flowery with citrus and stone fruits and a mineral vein to wipe your palate clean.  This is a great aperitif wine but can easily work well with fish and white meats. 

$18.99 per bottle

 

2017 Vietti Roero Arneis, Piedmont

Luca Currado of the Vietti family winery is known as “the father of Arneis” as he took particular interest in the finicky grape in the 1960s when it had almost gone extinct.  Thanks to Luca, now Arneis is recognized as one of Piedmont’s greatest white wines.  This medium bodied wine has gorgeous aromas of citrus flowers and stone fruits and zesty flavors of ripe pears, lemon zest and apricots.  It’s bright and elegant with a persistent and slightly nutty finish.  Classic high quality Arneis!

$22.99 per bottle

 

2017 Bulgarini Lugana, Veneto

Lugana is a small, relatively unknown, wine region on the southern tip of Lake Garda in northern Italy. Lugana produces highly aromatic and easy drinking white wines made from the Turbiana grape.  Bulgarini’s Lugana is an exceptional example of this lovely wine. The medium bodied wine is intensely aromatic with scents white flowers and white peaches yet delicate and fresh on the palate with flavors of stone fruits and a touch almond on the finish.   Try this wine as a starter with some fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese.  

$21.99 per bottle

 

Lighter, Fruity Dry Red Wines

2017 Cavalchina Bardolino, Veneto

Bardolino is a small wine region located on the eastern shore of Lago di Garda in Northern Italy’s Veneto region next to Valpolicella.  Bardolino is a wine produced from the same grapes as Valpolicella wine but is much lighter and fresher in style with some spicy herbaceous notes.  Bardolino is often compared to Beaujolais with its similar ability to pair with a wide variety of foods.   This is an easy going, supple wine with bright red cherry and raspberry fruits and hints of herbs and spice.   Give the wine a slight chill the wine to serve with picnic foods or an afternoon lunch or serve room temperature and pair with salmon, chicken and pork dishes.

$14.99 per bottle

 

2017 Corsa ‘Sella Ronda’ Valpolicella Classico, Veneto

Valpolicella is another great food wine from northern Italy that is often overlooked.  Corsa’s light to medium bodied Valpolicella delivers ripe red and black cherry fruits with hints of baking spice and herbs.  It’s soft, robust and fresh and versatile enough to be enjoyed throughout an entire meal from appetizers to entrees.

$16.99 per bottle

 

Bold, Satisfying Red Wines

2017 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont

Dolcetto is the wine that can be found on every lunch and dinner table in Piedmont.  This is the wine they drink daily and reserve their Nebbiolo wines for special occasions.  Vajra’s 2017 Dolcetto is juicy, easy drinking with generous with dark berry fruits and hints of spice.  It’s a bold and satisfying wine that can pair seamlessly with almost any food from simple pastas and pizza to hearty meat dishes.  A store favorite!

$18.99 per bottle

 

2016 Cavallotto ‘Vigna del Cuculo’ Barbera d’Alba Superiore, Piedmont

Cavallotto’s Barbera d’Alba shows how Barbera can be taken to new heights as a world class wine and not just an everyday country wine.  This Barbera has all the bold dark red fruit of classic Barbera but with much greater complexity and structure.  The wine expresses many layers of fruit and spice with a surprising tannic structure that keeps the fruit perfectly balanced.    

$33.99 per bottle

 

Complex, Structured Red Wines

2012 Tenute Sella Lessona, Piedmont

 Nebbiolo is famous for producing Barolo and Barbaresco wines but Nebbiolo has a much longer history in the northern Piedmont regions of Lessona, Ghemme and Gattinara where there are mentions of the grape dating back to the 14th century.  These wine regions were almost all abandoned after WWII when people left to find work in the bigger cities.  The Sella family was one of the few to keep making wine during this time and played a role in keeping these wine regions on the map.   Nebbiolo produced in the regions have higher acidity and firmer tannins than their southern Piedmont counterparts so other grapes like Vespolina have traditionally been added to soften nebbiolo’s harsh edges.   Sella’s Lessona is medium bodied yet powerfully structured.  The nose offers the classic aromas of dried rose petals, spice and leather.  On the palate it’s dry with dark red cherry and berry fruits, leather and peppery spices.

$29.99 per bottle

 

2013 Poderi Colla ‘Dardi le Rose’ Barolo Bussia, Piedmont

The Colla family has a 300 year history of winemaking in Piedmont and were the owners of the famed Prunotto winery during its most legendary years.  When they sold Prunotto they held on to one, prized historical cru in the Bussia called Dardi le Rose.   This Barolo is one of the most complex Barolos I’ve tasted in a long time both aromatically and on the palate.  The nose is layered with spice, orange peel, truffles, dried figs and sweet cherries.  The palate is dense and powerful with sour black cherry, dried plums, licorice, baking spice and mint.  The tannins are ripe but firm and the acidity vibrant.  This is a cellar must for any Barolo fan. 

$69.99 per bottle

 

Powerful, Rich Red Wine

2012 Tommaso Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto

Tommaso took over their family estate in the 1980’s and was recognized as a rising star of Veneto wine in the 1990’s.  He’s now famous for his lush and intense style of Amarone wine.   That’s exactly what this wine delivers. This is a warm, elegant and rich Amarone with generous slightly sweet fruit and notes of spice and chocolate.  This is a style of Amarone to enjoy at the end of the meal with some gorgonzola cheese while the good conversation is still going strong. It delivers everything you want in a powerful Amarone.

$62.99 per bottle

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