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The Do Bianchi Christmas 2016 Six-Pack
a flight of six dinner party wines
perfect for a part of 6-8 guests
Bele Casel NV Prosecco Colfòndo
Struzziero 2015 Fiano d’Avellino
Agriverde 2015 Cerasuolo di Abruzzo
Nanfro 2014 Frappato
Ballarin 2011 Barolo
Alice Bel Colle 2015 Moscato d’Asti
$130 per six-pack
plus CA sales tax, shipping, and handling
10% discount applied if you buy two or more.
It’s been a busy year for me traveling to Italy (9 trips this year!) and traveling across the country leading Franciacorta wine tastings for wine professionals, writers, and consumers.
One of my biggest revelations was my first trip to Irpinia (in Campania), which I made in early November of this year. Until I actually headed up the mountains from Naples and visit Taurasi and Avellino, I really didn’t understand how “heroic” these wines are. I knew they were great. And we’ve been serving wonderful Taurasi, Greco di Tufo, and Fiano d’Avellino at Sotto (the restaurant in LA where I co-author the wine list) since it opened more than five years ago. But when I traveled there and discovered what a desolate yet beautiful place it is, I realized that I really hadn’t wrapped my mind around how special they are. Aside from an old-school restaurant or two, a handful of pizzerias, and maybe one or two “destination” restaurants, there really isn’t much up in those volcanic mountains beyond wine and grape growing. It’s an extremely depressed part of Italy where relief from the financial crisis is still far off on the horizon. It’s also one of the most “extremely” beautiful parts of Italy I’ve ever visited: in part because it is so underdeveloped. We’ve all drunk these wines in super hip restaurants in NYC and LA and some of us have even drunk them in Naples. But to go see where they are raised and to meet some of the people who make them was as inspirational as it was eye-opening. If you’ve ever read Pasolini’s essay about life in Naples, you’ve had a taste — just a taste, mind you — of how these places are so unique in the panorama of Italian viticulture today and over the millennia.
The 2016 Christmas six-pack includes the 2015 Fiano d’Avellino from Struzziero, a hard-scrabble winemaker who makes extraordinary wines imho.
The other big jaw-dropper in this flight is the 2011 Barolo by Ballarin, one of those under-the-radar producers that I discovered last year. I tasted with the winemaker in July in Barolo village and was so impressed by his wines that I had hoped to offer his Anascetta in this flight. But sadly, it was sold out. Ballarin’s Barolo is old-school, all the way, the way I like it. (As my buddy at Chambers St. Wines like to say, I like big botti! In other words, big, ahem, barrels.).
Like all my offerings, this one is flight up like a dinner party. Serve in the order I recommend and you will move up in body until you get to the biggest and boldest of the wines, the Barolo. Then the Moscato is a dulcis in fundo wine to serve at the end with fresh fruit (ideally). It will serve 6-8 people depending on the crowd. And of course, all of the wines are great on their own as well. Just remember to always serve with food in accordance with the Italian culinary maxim: no wine without food, no food without wine.
Thanks so much for your support and happy holidays!
Bele Casel NV Prosecco Colfòndo (Proseccoland)
Old-school Prosecco the way the nonno made it except for cleaner and more focused. Serve “clear” by decanting the sediment (by storing upright in your fridge overnight) or serve cloudy (the way we do it) by gently inverting the bottle before you pour.
Struzziero 2015 Fiano d’Avellino (Irpinia, Campania)
See my notes about. I LOVE the fresh, fruit-driven nose on this wine.
Agriverde 2015 Cerasuolo di Abruzzo (Abruzzo)
Bright and fresh and pink. Salty with good fruit.
Nanfro 2014 Frappato (Sicily)
This is one of those electric wines, with really vibrant fruit on the nose and in the mouth. It’s definitely a “wow” wine.
Ballarin 2011 Barolo (Piedmont)
See my notes above. This wine can also be cellared with great results and makes for an awesome gift.
Alice Bel Colle 2015 Moscato d’Asti (Piedmont)
Serve with fresh fruit at the end of a meal or serve with brunch (this is around 7 percent alcohol so it’s a perfect breakfast wine or Christmas morning wine).