Several years ago, Kermit and Dixon were trekking the back roads of Piemonte. Dry and wearied after a long morning of tastings, they ordered a carafe of white to refresh their palates. The wine in the pitcher—a local Arneis—was not only drinkable, but really quite good: lively, typical of the grape and of the region, and an ideal companion to the antipasti of the day. Oh, and it was cheap. That fateful carafe led them to Tenuta La Pergola in Cisterna d’Asti, at the crossroads of the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato regions. As they would discover, La Pergola produces some of Piemonte’s best values, offering the versatility and crowd-pleasing delight that every trattoria wine should aspire to achieve. The new 2018 is a bargain ticket to authentic Piemontese refreshment.
The story of Monferrato Rosso began in a simple trattoria. Dixon and Kermit were on their way to Alba when they stopped for lunch. They were served a pitcher of Arneis that pleasantly surprised them and got the address of the producer. When they visited, they tasted several cuvées of Monferrato Rosso. It has quickly become a staff favorite, not only for its smooth earthiness and genuine regional typicity, but also for its versatility in pairing with a wide variety of dishes. We have high hopes for this everyday cuvée, because it has the finesse of a much grander D.O.C. Kermit says that it reminds him of the Piedmontese wines of old. Simple label, low price, totally satisfying!
Kermit’s love affair with the great reds of Piemonte dates back to the early days of his career: the very first container he imported from Italy, in fact, featured legendary 1971 and 1974 Barolos from Vietti and Aldo Conterno. Regular visits since then have seen our portfolio grow to now twelve Piemontesi estates, with a strong focus on the rolling hills of the Langhe.
Nebbiolo rules these majestic, vine-covered marl slopes, giving Italy’s most mystifyingly complex, nuanced, and age-worthy reds. When crafted via traditional production methods—long macerations and extensive aging in enormous oak botti—the powerful, yet incredibly refined Barolos and Barbarescos provide haunting aromatics of tar, raspberry, incense, tea, roses, and more. At times austere in their youth but well worth the wait, they pair beautifully with the hearty local cuisine starring veal in many forms, braised beef, pastas like tajarin and agnolotti, and of course, Alba’s famous white truffles.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Piemonte’s climate is continental, with baking hot summers and cold winters. Nebbiolo is only part of the story here: juicy, fruity Barberas and Dolcettos represent the bread and butter throughout the region, and other native grapes like Freisa, Croatina, and the white Arneis are also noteworthy. Value abounds in the Monferrato, while Alto Piemonte also has its share of thrills to provide.
Every corner of Piemonte is rich with tradition, especially when wine is concerned. It’s no wonder we have been singing the region’s praises for over forty years.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
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