Sip Your Way Through Italy

As the sun continues to bear down on us, all week long we’ll be dreaming of the steep mountainous terrain of Northern Italy. I figured we’d traverse this terrain with three very stylistically different wines, all from fabulous producers. 

For Monday & Tuesday, we start with what—for me—is a favorite example of skin-contact white wine, Elisabetta Foradori’s Pinot Grigio ‘Fuoripista’ (meaning ‘off-track’ in Italian). This wine is stunningly unique, grown biodynamically from 2 hectares of a vineyard with 30-year old vines. The silt and stone are certainly present, somewhere beneath the dusty floral aromatics and snappy savory freshness at the finish. Elisabetta ages the wine on its skins in clay amphorae for 8 months, gifting it layers and layers of texture, even as it remains incredibly clean and balanced. It truly feels like tapping into the ancient ways of wine, and it is pleasant, quaffable and undeniably singular. It only grows and improves with some air (as it remembers itself), and we’ll have it open Monday and Tuesday night.

Next, we move to a flinty masterpiece only bottled in magnum: Ermes Pavese’s Prié Blanc ‘Le Sette Scalinate’ (meaning ‘the seven staircases’). Sourced from one small vineyard, high above sea level (900-1200m!), this special bottling is expressive and well-named – its minerality screams of high altitude! What stony mountain texture! Pavese’s wines are some of my favorite anywhere in the world, and thankfully, though rare, it is not a Sisyphean task to find them out. Come taste one of the best wines from the Valle d’Aosta on both Wednesday and Thursday.

For the weekend, we’ll have another single vineyard wine, from the Chioso dei Pomi vineyard in Ghemme, up in the hills of Piedmont. Mostly Nebbiolo (locally known as ‘Spanna’) with 15% Vespolina blended in, this is a lovely, complex red that is not overwhelming in tannin, but carries great depth in its structure. For me, if I’m drinking red wine in the summer, I almost always prefer Nebbiolo from Upper Piedmont. There’s a mountain freshness to it that integrates beautifully with the abundance of rose petals and red fruit the wines have at their core. The Rovellotti family traces their roots in Ghemme back to the 15th century, and their historical ties leads to an essence of spatial place at the heart of their wine. This is a wine one could sit back and simply swirl and smell for seeming hours.

We’ll return to our Sunday Special to end the week, with that refreshing Corsican Rosé from Abbatucci. Though Corsica is French, it’s got plenty of Italian influence…. I’ll let it slide. Onwards into the Summer! I hope to see you this week. 

Elisabetta Foradori,
Pinot Grigio ‘Fuoripista’ 2016

Ermes Pavese,
Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle ‘Le Sette Scalinate’ 2014

Ghemme ‘Chioso dei Pomi’ 2010

Comte Abbatucci,
Corsica Rosé ‘Cuvée Faustine’ 2016