Manni Nössing takes Kerner, an unfashionable work-horse grape reserved for blending, and does what Pierre de Benoist does for Aligoté: flips its reputation for mediocrity on its head. In Manni’s talented hands, Kerner becomes the love child of a German Riesling and a chalky Chablis. While a traditional pairing might be Trentino’s strangolapreti—spinach gnocchi in a warm, melted butter and onion sauce—such “priest stranglers” are hard to come by, especially during a pandemic! So I subbed in some spinach pierogies with a side of caramelized onions. Heaven.
Prosecco” is a stand-in for a cold, crisp, sparkling white wine that should be pretty cheap. There’s nothing wrong with that desire, but there is such a large range of wines bearing the Prosecco DOC and DOCG that they are worthy of as much understanding and differentiation as any other style of wine. The Gregoletto family, who makes this Prosecco, has been tending vines in the hills of Premaor di Miane, near Valdobbiadene, since around 1600. Today, the family farms vineyards in Premaor, Miane, Refrontolo, and Rua di Feletto, all of which are communes in the DOCG Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, a small subzone of the much larger Prosecco DOC. Luigi Gregoletto and his family can’t, however, label their overachieving Prosecco with “DOCG”—the highest classification, generally reserved for sloped vineyards at higher elevation—because they seal their bottles with a crown cap instead of a cork. Nevertheless, they’ve married their excellent, hillside terroirs with painstaking, classic sui lieviti or col fondo vinification practices, whereby they ferment this wine in stainless-steel tanks, bottle it with a little grape must, and allow it to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle without disgorging the wine. Even though this technique is traditional, the difficulty of simultaneously following it and making excellent wine means it is avoided by most Prosecco producers today! Gregoletto’s result is a crisp, vibrant, fully dry sparkling wine with notes of fresh apples, lime, and stones. The complexity will remind you more of the better Champagnes you have tasted than of most Prosecco.
Lorenzo Mocchiutti studied homeopathy, intent on becoming a holistic doctor. But when he inherited some neglected family vineyards in need of recovery, he instead adapted his knowledge of herbal medicine to wine growing. His Friulano La Duline, a blend of Tocai Giallo and Tocai Verde, is a prime example of what a caring regimen of biodynamics can do for old and weathered vines. Hand-harvested and double-sorted, fruit ferments in medium-sized oak vats, where it always finishes its malolactic fermentation—a tradition in the region. Generous on the palate and easy to love, La Duline delivers the magic of a healing touch.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
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