Battaglino Roero Arneis 2010, Piemonte
Always in the WINE EXPO-ista top ten grape varieties, Arneis tastes like a perfectly ripened pear but without the sweetness. This makes it a perfect match for Asian and Pacific Rim seafood, pork or chicken dishes.
Terre da Vino, Barolo, Piemonte
These guys were our find of the year at VinItaly 2009: a modern cooperative cantina in the heart of the Barolo zona with 2800 small growers tending 5096 hectares to chose from but dedicated to quality AND value for money!
Terre da Vino Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato Frizzante 2008, Piemonte
Sort of a Piemontese retort to Vinho Verde: 100% Cortese (the Gavi variety) harvested early, fermented bone dry and then bottled while still retaining a nice light fizziness (and just 11.5% ABV), just perfect for cleaning spicy or oily foods off your palate. We LOVE this!
Terre da Vino Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2009, Piemonte
The flagship value white of the cantina, this has real character: medium bodied with just enough oak to flesh it out but never overpowering, delicious apple / quince flavors and a long smooth finish. Go buy some nice scallops with the money you save buying this….you won’t be sorry!
Terre da Vino Roero Arneis 2009, Piemonte
Lush, soft, smooth with a food friendly DRY finish. If we started from scratch to answer the question “What should be the everyday white wine in SoCal considering the climate and the food we eat?” this would be near the top of the list.
Terre da Vino Moscato d’Asti Monticelli 2011, Piemonte
The most refreshing of our gamut of Moscato d’Asti: more lemony than burnt orange in flavors and just 5% ABV so, yes, you can have a third glass!
Terra da Vino Asti Spumante Solia 2011, Piemonte
Full on froth meets the insane aromatics of perfectly cultivated Moscato with just a touch of sweetness, all backed up by bracing acidity. If this does not put a smile on your face perhaps you just need to be put out of your misery….“Hold it just a friggin’ minute here! First you guys were touting Lambrusco and now you want me to drink Asti Spumante? You have GOT to be kidding me….right?” Uh…No, we are deadly serious. Just as (despite the tanker ships of the dreaded E. Bolla produced every nanosecond) some of the best and smallest production white wines on the planet are Soave, Asti Spumante is actually a high quality DOCG wine worthy of your attention no matter WHAT Martini & Rossi put in their bottles. Try one, you might get lucky…
Cascina Ballarin, La Morra, Piemonte
Gianni and Giorgio Viberti are famous for their amazing Barolo (several bottlings are on the racks in our west wing) but also need to have a little white around the house for antipasti and to greet guests. So, they whipped up this:
Cascina Ballarin Langhe Bianco 2006
A rich, smooth and perfumed blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir (vinified white, without the skins) and the very aromatic local favorite Favorita, this is a STEAL if compared with other semi-serious Chardonnays from California or Australia but is VERY limited so get it while you can…
Azienda Agricola Cà Nova, Bogogno, Piemonte
This is a young but fantastically dedicated estate in northeastern Piemonte not far from Lago Maggiore founded in 1996 by the lovely and very passionate Giada Codecasa with able assistance from famed Oenologist Gianluca Scaglione. This cantina is destined to be a major star with their Ghemme (the traditional Nebbiolo Serioso of this zona) but is also making a delicious white from Erbaluce which is already a hit here as well as an intensely flavored Rosato di Nebbiolo.
Cà Nova Colline Novarese Erbaluce Rugiada 2009, Piemonte
Our favorite white wine at VinItaly 2006, Rugiada (‘the morning dew”) has a full and rich mouthfeel (but with absolutely NO oak) that is perfectly balanced by intense minerality and a wonderfully fresh pear / almond flavor set. Ridiculously good, well priced, VERY limited.
Azienda Agricola Cascina Fonda
di Marco e Massimo Barbero, Mango, Piemonte
Living in a town named after the most sensual of fruits (Mango, near Asti) the Barbero brothers, Marco and Massimo, just HAVE to make exotically perfumed nectars of seduction, right? Well…..YES they do, and, despite the pronouncements of a recent “authoritative” book about regional wines of Italy that you would have to go to Piemonte to find any, we’ve had them (and a lot of the others mentioned) here for years.
Cascina Fonda Moscato d’Asti 2011, Piemonte Sold Out, New Vintage Soon!
A deliciously fun, completely non snobby tipple that is light in body, low in alcohol, lively and fizzy but not full on sparkling, this virtually explodes with citrus, tropical fruit and floral aromas. Yes, it is sweet but so are stolen kisses and homegrown tomatoes so just relax and enjoy this when you need to be reminded of the joy of life and the beauty of nature. It smells like orange blossoms and tastes like love and you just can’t put a numerical score on that….
Cascina Fonda Vendemmia Tardiva 2010, Piemonte
We call even normal Moscato d’Asti “The Zombie Detector” because if you don’t like it you might be already dead but this is a whole ‘nother thing. It is not labeled as DOCG due to its unique production methods and flavor profile: it is made from Moscato grapes left to hang an additional three weeks on the vine which give it notes of walnuts and toffee on top of the burnt orange peel, dried fruit and hibiscus flower base. OUTRAGEOUS, unique, undeniable, this has already earned cult status. Uh…Ladies Man…this is goooooooood…wink, wink.
Tenuta Il Falchetto, S. Stefano Belbo, Piemonte
The wines of I Fratelli Fabulosi Forno (The Fabulous Forno Brothers!) have been big hits here since we opened the doors in ‘93 and we have just unloaded a new batch of their fabulously food (and wallet!) friendly wines for your enjoyment:
Il Falchetto Langhe Arneis 2010, Piemonte
The luscious ripe pear flavors and textures of this (followed by a crisp, dry green appley finish) are the result of it aging on the lees for 60 days before bottling and will absolutely ROCK with any fab seafood delicacies you serve it with but it will make your Thai take out or even a Tuna Salad Sandwich a lot better too…
Il Falchetto Moscato d’Asti Tenuta del Fant 2011, Piemonte
The fresh orange blossom and citrus zest aromas and refreshing sweet / tart finish of this wine burned its sheer excitement into the brain cells of so many of you that you never let us forget about it no matter how many other wonderful Moscati we threw at you when we were out of stock. Recently we were quoted in the City Beat Summer Guide as saying that we call Moscato d’Asti “the Zombie Detector” because if you don’t like it you are probably dead. What the editor cut out (and what made the reporter do a spit take and nearly fall off his chair when we said it) was we also noted that “neurologists will tell you that there are receptors for crack cocaine and marijuana right in your brain…well, the one for Moscato d’Asti is right between them”. Fun, fizzy, low alcohol, bursting with bright citrus aromas and LOVE, serve this with salty snacks (Corn Nuts, Prosciutto e Melone, Honey Roasted Cashews and Dried Fruit, ect) in the afternoon and all will be well with the world.
Azienda Agricola Riofava, Barolo, Piemonte
This is Sergio Gomba’s new boutique label for ultra small bottlings of Piemontese classics from his perfectly situated vineyards in Santa Vittoria d’Alba and Barolo. We love them and we are sure you will too…
Riofava Roero Arneis 2007, Piemonte
Drawn from calcareous soils on a hillside facing due south at 340 meters above sea level, this wine seems to be a means of mainlining the pure divine essence of the most perfect pears you ever tasted. It’s dry on the finish and very food friendly but the purity of fruit is simply enchanting.
Azienda Agricola Podere Saulino, Novi Ligure, Piemonte
This cantina has 12 hectares of vines in the heart of the Gavi DOCG zona, mostly dedicated to the Cortese variety for Gavi but also makes a lovely Brachetto that will be perfect for your next picnic or breakfast in bed (it’s in the Fizzy Reds part of the Champagnes and Sparkling Wines section).
Il Saulino Piemonte Bianco Sorito 2009
100% Cortese with fresh fruit to spare and a really good value for the money, we predict big things for this little Bianco. To paraphrase Sally Field: “You liked this, you really LIKED this!” and the first shipment almost literally evaporated. It’s back now!
Podere Saulino Gavi 2007, Piemonte Sold Out, New Vintage Soon!
100% Cortese, hand harvested in mid September to retain its bracing acidity, fermented in stainless steel. This is rich and full flavored with quince and yellow apple on the nose and a nice long, smooth finish. This wine has won various awards, perhaps the most interesting being “Premio Selezione Vini da Pesce” (Prize Selection Wine for Fish) at a festival celebrating exactly that in Ancona in le Marche (where the local Verdicchio was surely the handicapper’s favorite).