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Italy’s rich tradition of viticulture is illustrated not only by the great wines from prestigious appellations such as Barolo and Brunello but also by the wealth of gems found in lesser-known regions all over the country. Lombardia is not particularly renowned for wine, but a closer look reveals a number of small growing regions offering something unique. The Valtènesi zone, along the southwestern shore of Lake Garda, is one such example, and the delicious, easy-drinking reds produced here offer tremendous value—not to mention a surefire cure for a jaded palate. In this example from La Basia, a small family farm producing wine as well as a fantastic stone-ground polenta, the local Groppello grape stars alongside Sangiovese, Marzemino, and Barbera. Aged in concrete tanks and bottled unfiltered, it benefits from a slight chill: with loads of fresh fruit, a peppery crunch, bright acidity, and light, smooth tannins, this under-the-radar rosso is about as gulpable as they come.
|Blend:||Gropello, Sangiovese, Marzemino, Barbara|
|Vineyard:||15 – 50 years, 3 ha|
|Soil:||Moraine, with sandy clay|
|Aging:||Maceration lasts 6 days, then wine is aged for 9 months in stainless steel tanks, and aged in bottle for at least 3 months|
Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.