This is a big week for Italian wines in New York. There was a joint Tasting at the Metropolitan Pavillion on Monday of Vinitaly International the ambassador organization of Italian wines and The Slow Wine Guide an offshoot of The Slow Food organization. The Slow Wine Guide features wineries approved as good, clean and fair by Slow Food. One such winery, and a staple back in the VINe Wine + Cafe (my wine bar) days is Montenidoli, an Icon of traditional Tuscan winemaking. Maria Elisabetta Fagiuoli has been at the helm since the mid sixties. The estate has been organically farmed since. The estate is considered by many the mother of the movement back towards sustainable viticulture in Italy. Elisabetta’s estate is high on the mountain just west of the town of San Gimignano. Surprisingly, the soils are former sea floor beds thrust up during ancient times. While the reds are delicious, the ‘stars of the show’ are Montenidoli’s Vernaccia based white wines. At Montinedoli, ‘Vernaccia has always been considered the red of white wines, because of its body, the climate from which it springs, and its ageworthiness’. The ‘Tradizionale’, ‘Fiore’, and the oak aged ‘Carato’ all represent very unique expressions of Vernaccia.
Over on the Vinitaly side of the tasting, I became acquainted with some really interesting sparkling wines from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. This area, north of Tuscany and south of Lombardy and Veneto is known for its sparkling wines. The naturally sparkling wines of Emilio Romagna tend to be ‘frizzante’ or semi-sparkling as the result of secondary fermentation. Lodovica Lusenti is committed to producing wines that are representative of and fully express the land, the grapes, and the conditions of each vintage. Lusenti produces reds and whites in this style which pair exceptionally well with much of the richer fattier foods of the region. While Lusenti produces both still and sparkling wines, the sparkling wines are captivating in their uniqueness and for all the interesting possibilities for food pairings. Local varietals such as bonarda, malvasia di candia aromatica and ortrugo are handled with the utmost respect in the vineyard and in the cellar and all wines are produced in an environmentally responsible manner.
On Thursday (February 6) The Gambero Rosso, publisher of the prestigious guide to Italian wine titled Vini d’Italia, will be presenting a showcase of only the Italian wines that have won the coveted “Tre Bicchiere” recognition, at the Metropolitan Pavillion. Stay tuned!
Montenidoli Tradizionale Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Sugg. Retail: $22
Lusenti Tournesol Gutturnio Frizzante
Varietal: 60% Barbera – 40% Croatina from certified organic grapes
Sugg. Retail: $22