You might notice a brand-new mention adorning the back label of Moretto’s intoxicating dry Lambrusco: “Montebarello 155” refers to an association of growers within the Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC, denoting wines crafted exclusively from hillside sites. Most Lambrusco is grown in the high-yielding, fertile plains of the Po Valley, and even within this small appellation only a portion of vineyards can boast the terroir perks of the cooler, drier foothills. In the glass, this translates to vivid and complex aromas of wild berries, penetrating flavor, and an almost dusty mineral backbone. Once again, Moretto sets the standard for dry sparkling red wine—the new release is dangerously hard to put down.
Upon first tasting Duline’s Schioppettino at the winery, I exercised significant self-control to avoid barging into the cellar and downing copious quantities straight from the barrel. Several years later, that visceral feeling recurs with each bottle I have the fortune to open. Scented of roses, tomato leaf, and black pepper, this is a sensual red whose sophisticated refinement hides beneath a cloak of pure deliciousness.
At La Marca, viticulture is a labor of love—understandable, when you are farming luscious rolling hillsides in the foothills of the Apennines, enjoying a view of the Adriatic coastline in the distance. Pristine organic fruit finds its way to winedom through a spontaneous fermentation and long aging in massive oak casks, followed by an unfiltered bottling. Verdicchio is typically a light, crisp quaffer, but the Passolento has the layered textures that white Burgundy lovers chase after. In prime condition now, this 2016 will easily live another decade.
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