In 2020, there were days when the pandemic dominated my thoughts and actions; wine was a source of relief, but it was filed in the back of my mind. Looking through last year’s tasting book, I noticed I overlooked these enjoyable northern Italian wines.
Trentino is widely acknowledged for its quality Champagne-styled sparkling wines. One of the classic grapes of Trentino’s sparklers is pinot noir, which Bottega Vinaia sources from family-farmed vineyards for its still wines.
The 2017 Bottega Vinaia Pinot Noir Trentino is an eye-catching bright red and filled with fermented aromas and flavors of cherry, strawberry and spice. It’s a good match with pork chops and roasted chicken seasoned with smoked paprika. 88 points. Retail prices range from $17 to $25.
A little more than 200 miles south of Trentino is Piedmont, arguably Italy’s food and wine capital—in a country that is renowned for its regional food and wines, you will surely get an argument from the non Piedmontesi.
Nevertheless, Piedmont’s Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera are recognized worldwide as anchors of Italy’s wine treasures. The historic Fontanafredda estate is uniquely bound to the region’s wine and food fame.
In 1858, Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy, purchased the Fontanafredda hunting estate in Langhe in the Piedmont region for the home of his mistress (and later wife), Rosa Vercellana. They produced a son, Count Emanuele Alberto di Mirafiori, who created the winery at Fontanafredda and made its first Barolo in 1878. In 2008, Oscar Farinetti, founder of the international food and wine emporium Eataly, became the principal partner of Fontanafredda.