Not Your Grandmother’s Wine

Well, it actually is. Or my grandmother’s, at least.

The wine being Brachetto d’Aqui DOCG. Brachetto is a grape that has been grown in the clayey marly soil of northwest Italy Piemonte, specifically around the Monferrato Hills between Asti and Alba, for a very long time. Some ampelographers (awesome geeks who study the origin of grapes) believe it may have actually originated in southern France, which wouldn’t be such a stretch considering the proximity and history of these two areas. Regardless, here it is in Piemonte, going through two fermentations to make this frothy, fragrant wine.. The grape itself is a bit of a sweet one, and I find it interesting that it grows so nearby to Ruché, another wonderfully floral variety from the Monferrato Hills.

Maybe I am having a Piemonte moment, or a prolonged Italian moment, but I don’t believe that I’ll ever cease to be amazed by the spectrum of distinctive grapes to be found when wandering around Italy (By glass, words, or travel, that is. To understand a great deal about the specifics of Italian wines and their origins, these two books by Nicolas Belfrage, MW, are super helpful). Many of the varieties somehow related to one another, a handful or two being the exact same thing as others, only going by different names. A rose by any other name… You don’t have to travel far from one growing site before you find another just as intriguing. The grapes, the wines- they indefinitely tumble out of a clown car- some a little rough, many elegant, or at least sturdy and developed, with great personality. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you’ve got to admire a wine with personality.

But I’m rambling, back to Brachetto- serve it with a slight chill and maybe something sweet- soft cheese or cookies- perhaps pizzelles.  Share it with your grandma, or your forever friend, or someone irreplaceable like that. Before dinner, after dinner, in the middle of the afternoon. Roses, cola, maraschino cherry, and a mixture of roots- Mr. Pibb with around 5% alcohol. You’ll find it out there for no more than 25 bucks, tops. Interesting enough, but not complicated. A solid wink.

My grandma is a good winker. Until recently, she has never been much of a wine drinker, or an anything drinker for that matter. That changed the day a bottle of Marenco’s Brachetto d’Acqui entered her world. Now she won’t stop asking for more of “Catherine’s wine”. There are stories out there that back in the day, the Roman day, Brachetto was considered a wine for lovers. It certainly has a playful dreaminess about it. Seeing someone I care about fall in love with a wine, even so late in life, that’s romance to me.

This weekend I got to celebrate 91 years of my Gram. A bigger heart I don’t think I’ll ever find. It holds things like decades worth of Boston Red Sox stats, swift bingo skillzzz, all things spiritual, and absolute compassion for every person she has ever met. Seriously, every one. There is a lot of room in there! She is so cute when she does things like packs a suitcase or makes the world’s best apple sauce- reminds me to take my time, to always be kind. We will never regret being kind…

Happy birthday to her, and happy day to wonderful you. Here are just a few fun links I’ve come across lately. A bunch going on in the wine world right now with all the excitement of bud break, Vinitaly, the brief yet brilliant Napa Valley mustard flower bloom… Ahhh, Spring.
So interesting- View of the American wine front in 1934

An intriguing stranger- Vit Lit by Joe Mesics– from Alice Feiring- want to get my hands on this.

In case there was any doubt in your mind, a little rundown on just how good for you wine is from Meredith, one of the healthiest people on the planet.

Inspired by a visit to the Quintarelli estate- all about Amarone from Aaron.

Colli Orientali love. Get down with what is happening now in this pocket of gorgeous northeast Italy’s wine region of Friuli. . . Including savory Schiopettino– so very good.

The Birthday Girl. Photo taken practically yesterday.