Let’s face it: Champagne is the elephant in the room.
Champagne — the wine, the region, the brand, the ethos — is so powerful and so indelibly woven into the fabric of our vinous consciousness that we cannot help but be aware of its presence at the popping of every cork.
I believe this is due in part to the brilliant legacy of marketing by Champagne producers. From Champagne’s widowed matriarch to the Czars of Russia and the court of St. James’ and James Bond, the French virtually wrote the book on how luxury wine can be marketed with thrilling results.
It’s also due to the fact that the allure, partly financial but predominantly emotional, of creating sparkling wines outside of — although inspired by — Champagne is so overpowering that transalpine winemakers seem inevitably to draw comparisons to their better positioned counterparts.
I recently wrote this post on the origin of the name Franciacorta (it isn’t what you think): European wine trade observers will recognize the inferiority complex, a red thread that runs throughout the legacy of sparkling wine in Italy.
A few samples of Italian classic-method wines found their way to my desk this holiday season.
I loved the vintage-dated flagship Perlé by Ferrari (top photo), made in the Trento DOC.
I also loved their rosé (my favorite in their portfolio).
Tasting and enjoying these wines at dinner, I could’t help but think of how these wines represent such incredible value for the quality and the pure pleasure they deliver.
(According to the WineSearcher, prices vary across the U.S., but the entry-tier Ferrari generally lands under $25 retail; the rosé, under $35; and in certain states, the Perlé also costs around $35.)
I was so impressed by what original wines they are: where Trento wines tend toward hyper freshness and delicious ethereal balance, Franciacorta can have a distinct juiciness and depth of flavor that are unique — in my experience — to the appellation (and I’ve tasted and drunk a lot of Franciacorta thanks to my business and my friends there).
I dig all the wines by Barone Pizzini (I wouldn’t work with them otherwise!) but I especially adore the rosé. Tracie P and I drank it over two nights and I kid you not: it was even better the next day and hadn’t lost any of its life. And it had that Technicolor fruit that you often find in wines that have been raised free of chemicals. Brilliant, gorgeous wine that I highly recommend to you.
The Barone Pizzini is available in a few stores in NYC. The Ferrari wines are available nearly nationwide.