No one can deny the winemaking prowess of the Italians. We were reflecting on this when we visited Sonoma a couple weeks ago. Just as the Romans brought vines to England two millennia ago, the Italians planted their favorite grapes in California in the late 1880's, buying up land that reminded them of the picturesque and fertile farmland of their ancestors. Some of them already possessed generations of winemaking knowledge, others learned as they went. As we drove past vineyards with names like Sebastiani, Jacuzzi, and Sangiacomos, often still run by the families that founded them 150 years ago, we were reminded of the Italian legacy we enjoy right here in our backyard.
This week we are toasting the legacy of Italy with a delicious Trebbiano, a grape grown in Italy since Roman times, and now one of the most widely planted varieties in the world. While the reputation of this grape has unfortunately become linked to mass production, in the last 5-10 years many winemakers have started to take it seriously again, giving it the care that is helping it reemerge into the light.
This is the sister wine to the Pecorino we featured last week from the same producer. With lovely freshness and complexity, this is a wonderful expression of Trebianno's potential when treated as a serious grape. There is just so much going on in this glass. Inviting notes of apricot skins and fresh pineapple, along with wonderful herbs, fresh cut grass, and a bright mineral-driven finish. Rich and silky, this wine can pair with white fish, hard Italian cheeses, or pasta with cream sauce or pesto. We had it with Cacio e Pepe, a Roman pasta dish with a pecorino cheese sauce and fresh ground pepper. It was delectable.
The two friends, Roberto and Alessandro, who started the Sterlich project are rising stars in the Abruzzo region, producing fantastic wines from local varietals, using biodynamic and natural methods. They have a talent for making not just great wines, but wines that make you stop and think. We're going to be keeping an eye on them. Try their delicious Pecorino if you missed it last week!
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We love this red from Spain with its enticing and sultry notes of mulberry, tobacco, and cedar. The wine is aged for 14 months in American oak barrels, which gives it a distinct mellowness that is just so lovely when combined with the sturdy backbone of a well-made Tempranillo. One to drink with spicy chorizo sausages and aged Manchego cheese, or a simple juicy burger.