WINE AND CHRISTMAS: THE BEST SELECTION FROM OUR CELLARS
This year we’ll need to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve differently than we’re used to, but one thing’s for sure: wine and champagne won’t be missing from our tables.
Lunch and dinner in the company of only a few family members will be an occasion to uncork some truly special bottles.
This means that choosing the right wines, those with definite “wow” factor, is fundamental.
Which is why we’ve selected not only some fantastic labels, but 13 specific bottles, each with a unique characteristic to bring to the table, so you can make a good impression with friends and family. Obviously they also make excellent gifts.
A Franciacorta wine already has built in wow factor. It’s one of Italy’s most famous and well-loved sparkling wines for a reason, right? The bottle we’ve selected is a Cuvée made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Bianco grapes from the Agricola il Dosso winery, a small winery in Franciacorta run by a family that’s incredibly passionate about what it does.
What does Cuvée mean? This name indicates that various wines were blended together in order to create a bottle that expresses the vineyard’s style.
It’s like when an artist signs their name to a painting in order to make it more special. As you drink this wine, you’ll feel as though you’re getting to know Luca Archetti, the producer, or at least his palate!
Pairings: polenta with cheese.
A classic method rosé from the Cinque Quinti winery in Monferrato, made from Pinot Noir grapes with a floral, elegant, and sophisticated fragrance.
The wine’s salmon pink color recalls the special variety of rose which was planted over ten years ago at the winery’s headquarters, where this sparkling Champenoise wine, with a #Witty character, was born.
The Austin rose gets its name from its “creator”, David Austin, one of the most well-known breeders of English roses in the world. His story began around 1950, when he decided to dedicate himself to crossbreeding roses in order to obtain new varieties that combined the beauty and fragrance of ancient roses, with the durability of modern ones.
Pairings: salmon or herring canapés garnished with sour cream.
The first and only version of sparkling Amarone rosé! Yes, the varietals used to produce this #Witty sparkling rosé are the same as those of the famous (and very Christmasy) Amarone.
For those who want to try something different and impress their friends and family with an oenological gem, this Magò from the Massimago winery is the perfect choice.
Obviously, from the same winery, you can also find sensational Amarones with fantastic labels.
Pairings: fried zucchini flowers.
Nuragus, Audarya, #Outgoing
Do you really want to amaze someone? Then try this Nuragus from the Audarya winery. This is a particularly Sardinian varietal whose only DOC is produced by just seven vineyards in the world!
It’s a white grape with a floral and fruity aroma that, given the region of origin, in the glass fully expresses the savory and briny air that’s typical of Sardinian white wines. For those who are “on the continent” for the holidays and yearn to feel like they’re at home or simply wish to take a quick trip to the island, this wine is a liquid version of a Covid-regulation-proof Smart Box.
Pairings: Sardinian fregola and Sardinian gnocchi alla Carlofortina
Erbaluce di Caluso, Cella Grande, #Outgoing or #Profound
One of the very few white wines to have earned a DOCG label in Piedmont, a region of reds.
Do you know why? Erbaluce di Caluso is one of those rare white varietals that’s able to make structured wines which last for YEARS in the bottle.
If you buy a recent vintage, you’ll appreciate its freshness, the hint of grapefruit and citrus, and its mineral taste. If you buy an older vintage, you may enjoy a very bold and intense white wine with a scent that recalls flint and petroleum. Regardless, we recommend a bottle from the Cella Grande winery!
Pairings: swordfish carpaccio with goat cheese and passion fruit.
A warm and velvety red, as great Sicilian wines are known to be. Made from Nero d’Avola, Cabernet, and Merlot grapes, this exceptional wine from the Dei Principi di Spadafora winery has a very #Sensual quality.
Its soft, full flavor evokes notes of ripe berries, jam, and chocolate.
A unique feature is found on its label with the words “Dedicated to”, making it a perfect gift for someone special this Christmas. Francesco Spadafora, the producer, dedicated it to his father, Don Pietro, with whom he realized his dream: an organic oasis in the heart of Marsala.
Pairings: grilled meat with a paprika sauce.
Velvety and balanced, the Santa Maria from the Agricola il Dosso winery is a symphony of aromas with a sour cherry flavor.
What’s unique about this wine is that it comes from Franciacorta, an area today known almost exclusively for its sparkling wines. However, this region’s ancient vocation was actually that of producing bold and structured aged reds.
One of the few to firmly hold to this belief is Luca Archetti, owner of the Agricola il Dosso winery, who demonstrates it with a Bordeax-style blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that has an unbeatable price-quality relationship.
Pairings: Ossobuco alla Milanese.
A soft and sophisticated red wine that, however, maintains a vibrant flavor thanks to the typical acidity of Barbera grapes.
The story that it tells is beautiful. Peiragal represents the chance taken by the Abbonas, to this day still owners of the Marchesi di Barolo winery, who, when still newlyweds, decided to undertake a project that many believed to be foolish.
In the municipality of Barolo, in the vineyard right in front of their home, they decided to sacrifice some Nebbiolo in order to plant Barbera. Their intention was to demonstrate to everyone that, if well-cultivated and produced, even Barbera has everything it takes to become a great aged wine, of the same caliber as Piedmont reds. Love, folly, and determination are the three elements that come together in this extremely elegant red wine with sweet chocolately notes.
Pairings: excellent with Bollito alla Piemontese.
For Christmas would you like to taste a Barbaresco that’s been called Italy’s best red wine?
The 2016 Basarin by Adriano Vini, which gets its name from the cru of the Neive area, was considered, by the famous American wine magazineWine Enthusiast in 2019, not just one of the top 100 best wines in the world, but the sixth overall and the first with respect to other Italian reds. Bold and structured, this #Sage red wine is a must at Christmas.
Pairings: Agnolotti del Plin with meat jus or Castelmagno cheese fondue.
For Christmas let’s not forget to be environmentally sustainable as well. Giovanna Paternoster, producer at the Quarta Generazione winery located in the region Basilicata, reminds us of this holiday season, offering some truly original gift boxes.
With the goal of reducing plastic consumption, she has created beautiful and reusable canvas shopping bags. We suggest filling them with their Aglianico del Vulture, a red wine with a #Sage character.
You won’t find an emblem of any kind on the label: the protagonist of the bottle is what’s inside it. A single drop is enough to express this wine’s strong and #Sage character.
Pairings: grilled lamb skewers, best if slightly smoked.
Vigna del Frassino, Mazzolada, #Sage
A full-bodied and structured wine made with Merlot grapes from an area yet to be fully explored, between Veneto and Friuli, the Lison Pramaggiore DOC region.
The bottle bears the name of its vineyard, Vigna del Frassino. Its name is dedicated to the majestic ash tree that has towered over the vineyard for more than 270 years. The tree is one of the oldest in the province of Venice and is protected by UNESCO.
Pairings: capon stuffed with chestnuts.
Turriga is not only considered one of the best Sardinian red wines, but one of the most important wines in italy. Made primarily with Cannonau grapes, Turriga is a thoroughbred with a #Sage character which has been winning awards in the most prestigious enological championships in Italy and the world for years.
Why did we choose it? Cannonau is thought to be the oldest Mediterranean varietal after seeds were found in Sardinia dating back approximately 3200 years.
Furthermore, it seems to be one of the primary factors responsible for the long lives of the Sardinian people, thanks to the high concentration of antioxidants found in its peels. Few people know that Sardinia is one of only five regions in the world that are considered Blue Zones.
This is a term coined by scholars Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain that identifies a demographic and/or geographic area in the world where a higher number of people than usual live much longer than average.
Pairings: stewed wild boar with juniper and myrtle berries.
A classic among Italian red wines that simply cannot be lacking on the table at Christmas, especially for Christmas Day lunch. Would you like to impress your friends and family? Tell them the story of the black rooster, the symbol of Chianti Classico!
Legend has it that in the 13th century, when the Republics of Florence and Siena were locked in a bitter battle to win supremacy over the other, the Chianti region was severely disputed. It was necessary to establish a border between the two in order to end the dispute. Thus, it was decided that two knights would leave from their respective cities and that the place where they met would be the border. They were supposed to leave at dawn, with the first crow of the rooster. The Sienese chose a white rooster, the Florentines a black rooster. However, the Florentines played a trick. They kept their black rooster caged and unfed for days in order to force him into a state of agitation. The day of the departure, when they freed him, the furious rooster began to crow at the top of his lungs before dawn. The significant advantage of the Florentine knight allowed him to win almost all of the Chianti territory, which came under the control of the Florentine Republic.
Pairings: cappelletti in broth or the classic Florentine steak.