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A Walk In The Rose Garden

Inhaling the aromas of Brachetto wine is like being transported to a rose garden that is in full bloom.  Add a juicy array of wild strawberries, raspberry and other red berries to the flavors of this wine and one’s palate just might reach nirvana.

I recently visited the DOCG region of Brachetto d’Acqui located in the southeastern part of Piedmont, Italy to learn more about this very aromatic grape. The Consorzio Tutela Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG provided us with a wealth of information and sated our palates with delicious wine. The Consortium for the Protection of Acqui wines was founded in 1992 in the town of Acqui Terme and was the main force in attaining DOCG status to Brachetto d’Acqui in1996.  The map below defines the territory consisting of about 1200 hectares.  

 

Brachetto grapes, which are indigenous to Piedmont, are purplish-blue with firm-fleshed berries that are full and dense and characterized by their high sugar content and powerful aromas. These aromas are provided by the terpenes found in the grape skins. The main terpene in Brachetto is called geraniol, which is associated with the scent of roses. The wines tend to be pleasantly sweet, fruity, light-bodied, low in alcohol (5.5% - 7%) and have soft tannins.

Photo courtesy of Consortium Brachetto d'Acqui

The grapevines grow in what is considered “the aromatic hills” in marl, calcareous clay and red soils.  The climate for this region is continental with Mediterranean and Alpine influences. All of this contributes to the development of the grape’s intense aromas and delicate flavor.

 

Photo courtesy of Banfi Winery

Brachetto d’Acqui, DOCG These ruby-colored wines are mostly consumed as sparkling or semi-sparkling wines with frothy, creamy bubbles and powerful aromatics. Several styles are made using the Charmat/ Martinotti method where secondary fermentation occurs in pressurized, controlled temperature tanks for 30 days, during which the sugars in the must are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the yeasts. The wine is then immediately bottled and marketed. The differences in tank pressure help to determine the level of sparkle in the wine.

Red (still) Style: These are dry wines with low residual sugar and at times made with a touch of effervescence (frizzante). They have all the quality, aromas and flavors of the grape. 
Sparkling Style: Produced using the Charmat/Martinotti method.
Acqui DOCG: This style can range from Extra Brut to sweet.
Acqui DOCG Rosé (first vintage 2017): This rosé is offered as a sparkler and as a still wine.
Passito Style: The grapes are dried for a minimum of nine months to concentrate both flavor and sweetness before pressing. This wine is high in sweetness and alcohol (16%) and extremely complex, concentrated and is a decadent dessert wine. Unlike the sparkling wines that have a limited shelf life of two years, Passito can be stored for decades.

I did not have the opportunity to taste the Passito wine, but all of the other wines were amazing.  They can be enjoyed as an appertivo or with many different styles of cuisine. Pair with appetizers, goat cheese and savory or spicy dishes. They are not just dessert wines but I must confess they are a perfect marriage for chocolate, especially dark chocolate!  Serve these wines chilled.

This is one of my favorite wines from our Brachetto Masterclass.

Bersano Acqui DOCG Spumante Brut Rosé: This is a delightfully aromatic and refreshing sparkling wine made in the Charmat method with all the classic aromas and flavors of Brachetto. It has a creamy perlage with lingering notes of raspberries and roses.
SRP:  $18 to $23

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

While in the DOCG region of Brachetto d’Acqui we visited Banfi Winery for a quick tour and tasting.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

The Banfi estate is located in Strevi and has 50 hectares of land of which 46 hectares are dedicated to noble wines. Banfi sparkling wines are made in the Metodo Classico as well as the Charmat method. Their recently restored cellar has an area dedicated to the production of Charmat wines as well as Metodo Classico production which is in the heart of the cellar. The barrel room is dedicated to the maturation of the noble Piedmontese red wines, Dolcetto and Albarossa.

Here are two tasty Banfi wines that you want to add to your shopping list.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Rosa Regale Brachetto D’Acqui DOCG 2019 is made with 100% Brachetto and is produced using the Charmat method. This is a well-balanced sparkling wine with just the right amount of sweetness and acidity. Aromas of roses and red berries spill onto the palate with a refreshing and soft sparkle.
Alcohol: 7%
SRP:  $12 to $15

Cuvée Aurora Alta Langa DOCG 2015: This sparkling wine is made with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay using the Metodo Classico method. Aromas of apple, vanilla, yeast and a hint of minerality open to a palate of persistent perlage, soft fruit, apple, pear and brioche. It finishes with a hint of citrus zest. 
Alcohol: 12%
SRP:  $16 to $23

In addition to enjoying Brachetto d’Acqui as an appertivo or with food, this wine is also a great ingredient in cocktails. Let your creative spirit run wild and invent a cocktail that everyone will remember! 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

So, the next time you want to “wake up and smell the roses”, pour yourself a glass of Brachetto d’Acqui, DOCG.  Your palate will be happy that you did.

Until next time…

Cheers!

Penny

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