2012, Angelini, Pergola Rosso DOC, Marche, Italy
The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
Thousands of grape varieties grow in obscurity on the Italian peninsula, many are only found in small quantities growing in very limited regions. This makes it all the more interesting to explore the wines of Italy – the chance of tasting something you’ve never experienced before is greater, and often so rewarding.
The Marche is situated on the central eastern coast of Italy along the Adriatic Sea, bound on the west by the Apennine Mountains. The regions winemaking history dates back to the Etruscans. Today, most wine made here is destined to be Vino di Tavola (table wine), but there is growing interest in the handful of DOC and DOCG designated areas as well. Though most wines of note from Marche are white wines, the reds are also drawing attention and there are many surprises (and even bargains) to be had.
Pergola is a DOC in the central part of the Marche that only produces red wines. The grape of the region is the somewhat obscure Aleatico, also known regionally as Pergola Rosso or Vernaccia Rosso (not Vernaccia Nera, which is another grape all together). This grape is known for effusive sweet floral aromatics and bright red fruit. It is occasionally made into a sweet dessert wine, but is even more appealing when vinified to a dry, tart, aromatic table wine.
After an initial layer of yeasty bready aromas pass, the sweet floral scents of rosewater, tart blood-orange, and red cherry prevail. This wine is mouthwateringly aromatic with flavors of rose petals and cherry Lifesavers, and hints of spice and graphite. There is a pleasant chalky dryness from tight (but not overwhelming) tannins. The finish is average in length on the palate, but there is a lingering haunting aroma reminiscent of Persian desserts – rosewater, saffron, and honey. This wine is lovely at “cellar temperature” but also does well with a slight chill; it’s meant to be enjoyed while young and fresh.
At this time of year, I’m on the constant lookout for “Thanksgiving” wines, and this one fits the bill perfectly. It’s substantial enough to stand up to rich autumn flavors, as well as grilled lighter meats in other seasons. It will also go well with pasta carbonara, or other dishes that have flavorful pork products (bacon?) in a starring role. For meatless moments, turn to the flavorful, aromatic dishes of the Middle East.
Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com.
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