This sponsored article is brought to you by Salt Creek Grille – Princeton.
Beyond the traditional favorites we all know and love, there’s a world of vino just waiting to be discovered by the masses. Hugh Preece, operating partner at Salt Creek Grille – Princeton, shares a few of the gems he learned about during an experience in Italy, where he was part of an intensive VinItaly tour.
Dolcetto means “little sweet one,” although its wines are never sweet and is resolutely dry. In Piedmont there are 11 DOC wines. Dolcetto d’Alba has the fullest body and in Dogliani has floral, fresher, more perfumed and can be most powerful. In a region where Nebbiolo is king, Dogliani area has always viewed Dolcetto as its most important cultivator. Dolcetto wines are cleansing, unique, fresh and medium bodied with grapey aromas and flavors, and bright acid.
Wine to try: Pecchenino Siri d’Jermu Dogliani Superiore DOCG
Today Pecchenino consists of 54 acres and brother Orlando and Attilio run the family business of over four generations. This single vineyard wine is fermented in stainless and aged in French oak one year and bottled six months. Ripe fruit on the nose with notes of currants, black fruit, balanced flavor and smooth with sweet tannins with a finish that lingers.
Sagrantino is an ancient grape found in Umbria. Some theorize that its name is derived from “wine of the mass” due to the amount of tannins in the wines (and therefore able to age well). The DOCG wine is called Montefalco Sagrantino and is 100% varietal. Wines produced in Montefalco are more structured yet refined, while those produced in Bevagna are more floral and elsewhere softer and more ready to drink. Sagrantino’s history has always been sweet wine and dry Sagrantino is only a recent movement. Sagrantino is Italy’s most tannic red wine. The tannins are polished and smooth and should be rich with prickly black fruit, aromatic herbs and flavors that are pure and persistent.
Wine to try: Falesco Montefalco Sagrantino RC2
Brothers Riccardo and Renzo Catarella founded Falesco in 1979. This wine is fermented in stainless, cold soaked maceration and aged in new French oak for 2 years and bottle for 8 months. The aromas of black fruit, blackberry are intoxicating with nuances of black cherry, tobacco and graphite. Palate supports the nose with fine grain tannins and a silky mouth feel with super structure and balance.
Primitivo got its name in Italy because it ripens very early in the season, in August. Puglia is its main Italian home and is one in the same as the California Zinfandel. Primitivo should be creamy-rich with aromas of ripe red cherry, strawberry jam and plum macerated in alcohol with nuances of tobacco and underbrush, herbal and tarry. The main difference with the California Zinfandel is its stronger herbal nuances and less ultra ripe, sweet fruit.
Wine to try: Castello Monaci Salento Primitivo Piluna
Castello Manaci is located in Puglia (the “heel of the boot”) and is certified sustainable. The grapes are harvested in early morning with part of the wine being matured in French barriques for six months and the rest in stainless. A wine with body and structure and has a full bouquet of ripe red fruits, notes of pepper and vanilla. Robust and concentrated, soft but firm flavors.