Monday, November 5, 2018

Italian Wine Shopping

Shopping for Italian wines in a place that really "gets" Italian wine is a fantastic experience.  There are several small shops in Los Angeles that fall into that category, and Eataly gets Italian wine, too, although the space isn't exactly small.  It's a big, Italian grocery market with an extensive wine section.

Normally, my wife would be the one wanting to linger a bit longer in an Italian market, but the wine section offers me a chance to browse a bit, too.

Possa's 2014 U Neigru is a Ligurian red wine made from half Canaiolo grapes and half Bonamico, grown on 45-year-old vines in sandy soil.  The wine spent five days on the grapes skins, fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts and was aged for nine months on the lees in chestnut and oak barrels.  I had never encountered chestnut aging before, and I'm told it has a neutral effect.  Alcohol comes in at a low, low 12.0% abv and it sells for about $27.

Discoverportovenere.com reports that Samuele Heydi Bonanini started the winery in 2004 on the steep cliffs of the coastal Cinque Terre region.  He harvests his grapes by hand, since no machinery can fit in the narrow space.  He uses chestnut wood in the aging process because it's a local tradition.

This 2014 natural red wine has an incredible nose that's loaded with minerals and earth.  Loaded, as in like never before.  It also displays aromatic herbs and has a strong floral aspect.  The palate is savory to the nth degree, downright dusty in fact.  Red cranberry and raspberry notes are traveling incognito  under the influence of the earth from which they grew.  Tannins are somewhat soft, but the acidity is bracing.  A pairing with Italian sausage is great, and it also fits well with a tomato-based pasta dish.