I have never been to Italy, but I have had a bit of Italian wine in my life, and I think that counts for something. Here’s why: I’ve always thought of wine as a direct link to where it comes from because of its capacity, when conditions are right, to a evoke its origins. While enjoying Carlotto’s earthy, savory Pinot Nero, the breeze in my backyard might just be blowing in off the Dolomites. With a glass of Guido Porro’s Nebbiolo in hand, the fog swirling around the Berkeley hills masks a sea of vineyards. (It helps if I squint.) Granted, the idea of the transportive power of wine is a bit of a cliché at this point, but like a lot of clichés, there’s still a kernel of truth at the center. To get at this kernel, grab your corkscrew for a trip to Northern Italy, a region with a dizzying variety of grapes and rich winemaking history. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of the rocky Karst plateau outside your kitchen window while taking a break with a glass of Edi Kante’s deep, grippy Terrano, first mentioned in print over six hundred years ago. Maybe your dining room briefly resembles a cozy mountain cabin in the Valle d’Aosta while you’re savoring Château Feuillet’s delicate, aromatic Cornalin, an ancient grape with only a few acres planted in all of Italy. Corte Gardoni’s juicy, piney Corvina Veronese comes from the verdant hills outside Verona. Perhaps a glass inspired Shakespeare. He set two plays in Verona, despite never having visited. So while I haven’t been to any of these places, I still feel like I’ve experienced them, at least a bit, through these wines. And if you feel like glimpsing a little slice of Northern Italy in your surroundings just pick up this sampler, open a bottle, and enjoy the view.
2016 Langhe Nebbiolo “Camilu” • Guido Porro $26 2016 Monferrato Rosso • Tenuta La Pergola $14 2014 Alto Adige Pinot Nero • Weingut Carlotto $45 2016 Corvina “Becco Rosso” • Corte Gardoni $18.95 2011 Venezia Giulia Terrano • Edi Kante $25 2015 Valle d'Aosta “Cornalin” • Château Feuillet $32
SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE $136.00
(a 15% discount)