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Nebbiolo: The quintessential Piedmont grape

Piedmont is definitely the Italian region most prized by wine collectors as overall quality and consistency is very high. While the stratospheric prices of world-class Barolo and Barbaresco wines might keep them out of reach, there are many nebbiolo bargains to be had, particularly outside of the core Langhe zone in below-the-radar denominations north of […]

Best Values for Red Burgundy: Appellation Suggestions

On the heels of recent strong vintages, the “second-tier” appellations have produced some exciting wines that begin to enter the realm of affordable, a term that is rarely associated with red Burgundy. We’ve listed below a few of our favorite appellations in Burgundy that (outside of Beaujolais) are offering the best price-to-value ratios. Best Burgundy […]

Guide to Champagne, France’s Quintessential Sparkling Wine

Champagne — the name of both France’s most northern wine region and its only appellation — is world-renowned as the source of world’s finest sparkling wines; the area’s cool temperatures yield grapes with substantial acidity, a prerequisite for successful sparklers. Remember, while there are high quality sparkling wines from around the world, only Champagne can […]

Four Little-Known White Grapes From Piedmont

When you think of Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian), its world-class reds — Barolo and Barbaresco — naturally come to mind.  But Piedmont has got some lesser-known whites that are worth giving a swirl.  Here are some great white options from Piedmont. Nascetta The rare nascetta, potentially related to favorita/vermentino/pigato, is indigenous to Piedmont’s Langhe and was only recently […]

Barbera: An Italian Red Grape Grown in Piedmont, Italy

Thin-skinned barbera is the most widely-planted grape variety in Piedmont and the fourth most popular in Italy after sangiovese, catarratto and trebbiano toscano. While wines are made in a range of styles, they generally offer low tannins, very high acidity and sharp, often sour cherry and red fruit flavors complemented by earthy overtones. Barbera’s trademark […]

Cannonau: Italian Red Wine Grape from Sardegna

Better known throughout the world as garnacha or grenache, thick-skinned, late-ripening cannonau yields big, brawny wines in Sardinia. Typically low in acidity and tannins, they offer rich flavors of dark fruit (raspberries and cherries), coffee, licorice and chocolate, often with trademark notes of herb and spice. To put Sardinia’s cannonaus into perspective: they share greater […]

Beaujolais’ Chiroubles AOC: Great Wines, Superb Values

Beaujolais, the largest and southernmost region in Burgundy, lies roughly midway between Burgundy’s famed Côte d’Or and the Northern Rhône Valley.   For the most part, Beaujolais wines — 99% of which are based on the red gamay grape variety — are light to medium bodied, high in acidity, low in tannins, and deliver big, up-front […]

Understanding Alsace Grand Cru

Alsace’s Grand Cru covers fifty-one individual vineyard sites and the AOC laws dictate which grapes can be grown in each. The yield specifications are much lower than regular AC wines (60 hl/a). In general, Grand Cru sites must be made from one of the four ‘noble varieties’: riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot gris or muscat; though exceptions […]

A Wine to try: Bonarda from Italy

The bonarda (aka croatina) grape variety offers great wine values in Italy Bonarda is the local name for the croatina grape in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna and bears no relation to the bonarda grape varieties found in Argentina and Piedmont. The mid- to late-ripening grape delivers wines with dark color, gushing fruit, low acidity and soft […]

Italy’s Valtellina Wines: Chiavennasca (aka Nebbiolo)

Italy’s Valtellina denomination, based in the region of Lombardia, offers some great, under-appreciated value wines. Although they do not quite reach the same heights as in Piedmont, nebbiolo-based wines from Lombardy are impressive and worth trying. If you are a lover of nebbiolo, this zone is worth exploring! About the Valtellina The Valtellina. The best area for […]