The holidays are in full swing – the season of festive gatherings and dinners with friends and family! These occasions often require a few different approaches when deciding what to uncork. Larger parties call for versatile, inexpensive wines to appease a broader range of palates and cuisines. For these purposes, our Cambridge store offers a good selection on the “$15.95 and Under” shelf. For more intimate gatherings this weekend and next week, Gemma, wine buyer for our Cambridge shop, weighs in with two special suggestions – one white and one red – both from Italy.
Az. Agr. I Clivi ’10 Collio Bianco Brazan
Readers of our blog know that we are big fans of I Clivi’s wines. We are excited to offer the latest release of one of our favorite Burgundy-like whites from our friends, Ferdinando and Mario Zanusso. Many of our customers remember the 2005 vintage that was available last year, as well as the 2001 vintage that was recently available. The 2010 is of similar quality, if not superior. Exclusive to Formaggio Kitchen because of our direct relationship with the vineyard, this wine is always a winner at dinner parties. It never fails to impress because of its luxurious mouthfeel – smooth and rich with round, nuanced fruit and mineral notes.
Gemma tasted this wine in September when she was in Italy, helping the Zanussos with their harvest. She recalls Ferdinando noting the spicy quality of the wine, indicating that it is characteristic of the wines from the Brazan vineyard. This parcel of vines is just shy of five acres and is planted solely with two local varietals, Tocai and Malvasia. It is located in the village of Brazzano, in the heart of northern Italy’s esteemed Collio growing appellation. Be sure to grab a few bottles of this excellent wine for your next holiday affair – alternately, keep it all to yourself and pair it with truffle risotto, salmon or roasted white meats.
Az. Agr. Roagna ’04 Barbaresco “Pajè”
There are few things better than a memorable bottle of Barbaresco. The 2004 vintage provides just such an experience. Pair Roagna’s Pajè with tagliolini al tartufo, grass-fed beef, or aged cheeses (such as Parmigiano Reggiano Cravero Riserva) and it is bound to be an unforgettable. The Roagna family is steadfast in their dedication to making traditional, Piedmont wines. This means no shortcuts in the vineyards or in the cellar.
The Roagna vineyard, “Pajè,” is known for its old vines (35-40 years) and low yields, with everything being done by hand, including its harvest in mid-October. Macerations extend well beyond the duration of those of their peers, usually ranging from 70-90 days. They seek to express the terroir of this special, southwesterly exposed vineyard to its fullest, thereby making serious, well-structured wines. The wine is elevated in large, old, oak barrels for typically 4-6 years before bottling. This particular vintage shows power yet elegance with a lingering finish of wild cherries, anise, earth, and cedar. Any fan of Piedmont is sure to be thrilled with this bottle. It is drinkable now with some decanting (we recommend a couple of hours to fully experience the wine) or cellar for up to thirty years!
We encourage you to contact our Cambridge Wine Buyer, Gemma, directly via e-mail or in our Cambridge store for assistance with your wine needs. She can also be reached via the shop phone: (617) 354-4750. Let her unique, delicious pairings accompany your festivities!