TN: Brachetti & PigParts..(very long/boring)

We tasted Monday (5/24/10) in our SantaFe Wine group some (mostly) Brachettos, along w/
some artisinal Salumi:

  1. Cascina Fonda di Marroc Massimo Barbero Vendemmia Tardiva Mosto Parzialmente Fermentato
    (6%) Mango/Piedmonte 2006
    : Pale yellow color; strong/intense muscat/AstiSpumante floral perfumed
    nose; slight spritz fairly sweet strong floral/muscatty/perfumed flavor; med.short intense/muscatty/floral
    fairly sweet almost syrupy finish; much like an AstiSpumante w/o the strong fizz. $22.00

  1. GiacomoBologna “Braida” Brachetto d’Acqui (5.5%) Rocchetta Tanaro/Asti 2003: Light purple color w/ some
    bricking; lovely floral/perfumed/aromatic/lilacs/Nebb-like slight tarry bit aged/complex nose; slightly
    sweet no fizz floral/lilacs/perfumed/aromatic rather flat/soft aged Nebbiolo complex flavor; med.long
    light/floral/lilacs/tarry flat finish w/ little tannins; some very nice aged Nebb character but a bit
    flat/dull on the palate. $14.00/hlf

  1. Convento Cappuceini DOCG: Brachetto d’Acqui (7%) Botto Pier Luigi/Riccaldone 2006: Light red color; rather
    soda pop/fruity light floral/muscatty grapey/simple nose; off-dry slight fizzy simple/fruity/soda pop/
    grapey flavor; med.short grapey/fruity/soda pop off-dry slight muscatty/floral finish; rather simple and
    very soda-pop w/o the floral Brachetto aromatics. $17.00

  1. Marenco Pineto Brachetto d’Acqui (5.5%) Strevi 2004: Light red color w/ some bricking; some more earthy/
    mushroomy light cherry/muscat bit Nebbiolo/floral/tarry interesting nose; bit off-dry light tarry/earthy/
    mushroomy/Nebb-like slight floral/cherry no fizz flavor; med.short light tarry/floral/cherry/Nebb off-dry
    bit complex finish w/ little tannins; a bit like an earthy old Nebbiolo. $23.00

  1. Marenco Pineto DOCG: Brachetto d’Acqui (5.5%) 2008: Light red color; strong floral/muscatty/cherry perfumed
    Lambrusco-like nose; rather fizzy off-dry cherry/muscatty/floral/soda pop bit simple/juicy flavor; med.
    juicy/floral/cherry soda pop off-dry finish; probably the freshest most-classic of the Bruschetti. $25.00

  1. Cascina Garitina Niades DOCG Brachetto d’Acqui (5%; http://www.CascinaGaritina.It" onclick=";return false;) 2005: Pale red color; very
    floral/moscato rosa/aromatic slight earthy/tarry/metallic interesting bit strange nose; very slight fizzy
    off-dry floral/muscatty/soda pop slight tarry flavor; med.short light tarry light floral/muscatty finish
    w/ light tannins; still good Brachetto character but showing some secondary development. $15.00

  1. Malvira Birbet Mosto Parzialmente Fermentata Brachetto (4.5%;" onclick=";return false;) NV: Light red color w/
    slight bricking; strange apple cider/burnt rubber slight volatile bit earthy/mushroomy/oxidized slight
    tarry/floral somewhat strange/interesting nose; off dry little fizz light earthy/tarry/pungent slight
    floral/violets/Nebb flavor; med.short slight tarry/earthy very slight floral/violets/Nebb finish w/
    little tannins; seems to have a bit of age and somewhat strange, but not at all unattractive. $20.00

  1. IlFalchetto DOCG: Brachetto d’Acqui (6%;" onclick=";return false;) 2008: Pale red/rose color; light floral/
    muscatty/soda pop/fruity slight earthy/tarry rather interesting nose; fairly sweet earthy/Lambrusco-like/
    dusty some floral/muscatty slight fizzy slight tarry/pungent flavor; med. floral/muscatty/Brachetto slight
    earthy/dusty/Lambrusco-like fairly sweet finish w/ light tannins; the most characteristic Brachetto and
    most interesting of the young Brachettos; very attractive wine w/ the salumi. Thanks, Roberto $26.00

  1. VillaGiada Amis Piemonte DOC: Brachetto (7%; http://www.AndreaFaccio.It" onclick=";return false;) 2005: Bright light red color; rather
    grapey/cherry/fruity/light muscatty/Nehi cherry soda pop nose; slight fizzy off-dry grapey/fruity/cherry/
    KoolAid/Nehi cherry soda pop flavor; med.short off-dry fruity/grapey/cherry finish w/ little tannins;
    a Nehi cherry soda pop wine. $23.00

  1. Bigaro Elio Perronee Mosto d’Uva Parzialmente Fermentatao (5%) Castiglione T. 2005: Very pale rose color
    w/ some browning; some grapey rather wet dog fur/mousey very strange nose lacking in fruit; off-dry
    little fizzsome mousey/wet dog fur/unclean rather strange/off flavor; short wet dog fur/mousey slight
    grapey finish w/ no tannins; some thought this slightly corked but I didn’t get that; a strange/weird
    wine w/ few redeeming features. $20.00

  1. Cantina Puianello Luceria Lambrusco Grasparossa VFQPRD DOC: Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa
    Vino Frizzante (8.5%) NV
    : Pale red color; rather earthy/dusty slight grapey nose; dry very lightly fizzy
    rather earthy/dusty slight grapey bit bitter flavor; med.short earthy/dusty slight grapey finish; not that
    much fruit and rather earthy/dusty; not as good as the Barbolini. But better than the last Reunite I had.

  1. BrunoVerdi Sangue Di Giudi Paradiso Dd’O: OltrepoPavese (8%; Sweet RW) VerdiBruno di
    Verdi Paolo/CannetoPavese 2007
    : Dark color; somewhat grapey/earthy bit tarry/licorice/pungent/BarBQue sauce
    slight bretty/horsecollar nose; rather sweet no fizz soft/grapey earthy/tarry/licorice/RCCola/DrPepper big
    grapey/black cherry/pomengranate rich slight bretty/unclean flavor; med.long big/grapey/plummy/RCCola/
    DrPepper ripe rather sweet finish w/ light tannins; big grapey/pluummy character. $23.00

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

  1. The salumi we tried were:
  2. Boccalone BrownSugar&Fennel Salame (" onclick=";return false;) $18.00
  3. Creminelli Sopressata (" onclick=";return false;) $45.00
  4. Creminelli Tartufo w/ BlackTruffle Salame
  5. Creminelli Felino (Secret blend w/ Pepper&Nutmeg) Salame
  6. Batali/SalumiCuredMeats Salumi (Ginger) Salame (" onclick=";return false;) $60
  7. Batali/SalumiCuredMeats Finocchiona (Cracked Fennel, Black Pepper, Curry) Salame
  8. DonaJuana Cantimpalo Dry Cured Sausage $6.50
  9. LaQuercia Iowa Proscuitto Speck Americano (smoked)
  10. Proscuitto di Parma
  11. Embutidos Fermin S.L. Jamon Iberico de Bellota Acorn-Fed (Reserva: Aged 24 months) $57/4 oz.
  12. Redondo Iglesias Dry Cured Serrano Ham $18/8 oz
  13. Fra’Mani Salame Gentile $10.50
  14. TomHill Nduja (Salame Gentile/RidgeVnyds Olive Oil/Hot Pimenton)
    The Boccalone is made in SanFrancisco/Oakland. The Creminelli comes from an artisinal maker up in
    Seattle; a bit on the expensive side. The Batali is from Marilyn&Armindino Batali (Mario’s parents) up
    in Seattle. Most of their production goes to their restaurant and it is seldom available for sale,
    but I managed to score the SalamiDuo. The DonaJuana is classic Spanish salamis at SpanishTable made
    out in SanPedro Calif. LaQuercia is proscuitto made up in Iowa and regarded by many as the best USofA
    rendition of proscuitto. The Iberico and Serrano hams came from SpanishTable. The Iberico comes from
    pigs fed on chestnuts and has a distinct nutty character; frightfully expensive.
    Nduja is an unusual/spreadible Calabrian salame. It is made by taking the leftover pig parts that
    nobody wants (stomach/liver/kidney/lungs/heart/brain/eyeballs/gonads/etc), giving it a huge hit of
    Calabrian hot pepper and made into a salame. Since it has no muscle tissue, it’s soft & spreadable.
    The only authentic one I’ve had is the Boccalone, and it is soooo friggin’ hot it takes your head off
    and distracts from the fact you’re eating fermented/preserved balls, eye or otherwise. I make a pseudo-
    Nduja by taking Fra’Mani Salame, pureeing it coarsely in a Cuisinart, adding good olive oil, and a shot
    of Spanish Pimenton. Comes out pretty good and you don’t gotta eat any balls. I think. Paul?
    Of the hams, I liked the plain Italian proscuitto; it almost tastes buttery in character. The LaQuercia
    was pretty close behind. The Iberico was clearly not worth the huge tarrif.
    Of the salumi, the Batali was my easy favorite; something I had already established in my mind. There
    are other salamis out there that I like even better. Chad, at Dopo and Adesso on upper PiedmontSt in
    Oakland, makes the best salamis I’ve had. When you bite into them, the fat chunks are like eating
    flecks of butter. Alas, since his is not a federal-approved facility, you can only get them at their
    restaurants. The Feds are very effective in protecting this great Nation from highly-lethal pig parts
    and terrorist nuclear devices (so-far, anyway); maybe not so good from fertilizer-driven explosives and
    oil spills on our beaches. Adesso is a terrific place to eat and usually has some 20 different salumis on
    the menu. I also very much like he salumi that is made by FattedCalf up in Napa. That’s all on the pig
    parts, folks.

  1. I was first turned onto off-dry/fizzy Italian wines w/ charcuterie at Oliveto, where PaulBertolli first
    started making his own charcuterie. He has since left Oliveto to start his Fra’Mani operation. I had
    ordered the charcuterie plate and the Somm, w/ whom I was visiting, suggested a glass of this wine to
    go along with it: OliverMcCrum’s Barbolini Lambrusco di Gasparossa. I gave him this cock-eyed look
    as if to say “you gotta be kiddin’”. No, try it, he urged. He was, of course, right. That began a long
    love affair w/ Lambrusco to accompany charcuterie.

  1. Brachetto: I first experienced Brachetto in the mid-'70’s, when DarrellCorti brought in a bunch of
    Scarpa wines. His Brachetto was made as a dry/still wine; one of the few people that makes that kind of
    expression of Brachetto. It was only later that I encountered the off-dry/fizzy versions of Brachetto.
    And far later that I started connecting it to pig parts.
    This assemblage of Brachetti (thank you, LA) was probably the largest such collection of wines ever
    assembled in the USofA. It was an interesting assemblage, spanning a wide range of ages, from an '08 back
    to an '03. There was some assertions that to truly have good Brachetto, you have to drink them very
    young…as in the '08 or '09; that the fade very fast. I could agree w/ that up to a point. If you’re
    having Brachetto w/ pig parts and insist it be off-dry and fizzy, then I would be in complete agreement.
    However, I found most of these older Brachetti very interesting wines. They claim that Brachettos don’t age
    is patently false. They had, for the most part, lost most of their fizz. They were not particularly good
    w/ the pig parts. But, on their own, they were very/very interesting. They had much the same ethereal/
    floral fragrance and slight pungent/tarry character that you get in an aged Piedmontese Nebbiolo. But
    w/o the fierce tannins. I found the older Brachetti far more interesting and less soda-poppy than the
    young ones.
    Brachetto is a variety, like Freisa, Marzemino, and Tazzalenghe; that should be much more widely
    planted in Calif (let the marketing department worry about moving the stuff). It has the beautiful
    floral/lilacs/violets/cherry blossom fragrance to it that I really like. And seems to age, like Zinfandel,
    pretty well. In fact, this great Nation would be a much better place if all the Cabernet in the NapaVlly
    were grafted over to Brachetto. IMHO.

After the Brachetti and pig parts, we had a little Dolci. I brought a Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ a Chocolate
Chipotle Ganache. It seemed to be well received. The secret cake ingredient was Sweet Bacon Shards,
something I make often for salad croutons. You take bacon (one of the 5 basic food groups) and oven-bake
it. In this case, I coated it w/ brown sugar, maple syrup, and chipotle powder. It comes out very crisp
and is easily crumbled into shards. Great stuff. With the cake, we had:

  1. Pellegrino Franco Passione Rossa Vino Aromatizzato alla China DOC: Vino Butttafuoco OltropoPavese (16%)
    : Very dark color w/ some bricking; intense herbal/quinine/medicinal very complex smokey/barky/earthy/
    pungent rather grapey/licorice/RCCola nose; rather sweet quite bitter very herbal/medicinal/barky very
    grapey/licorice/RCCola complex flavor w/ ample tannins; very long rather sweet barky/medicinal/herbal
    quite grapey/licorice pretty bitter finish; lots of very interesting things in this & very herbal/complex
    but not everyone’s cup of tea. $45.00

  1. Giovanni Allegrini DOC: Recioto della Valpolicella (13%) 1993: Dark color w/ slight bricking; strong
    grapey/ripe bit tarry/licorice/pungent/smokey rather spicy/licorice/root beer some complex nose; rather
    sweet soft intense grapey/licorice/ripe bit alcoholic/porty rather tannic smokey/pungent flavor; very
    long intense/grapey/ripe/licorice bit hot/porty sweet finish w/ ample tannins; showing some secondary
    developmet/complexity but still loads of primary/grapey fruit; lovely Recioto w/o the overripe/raisened/
    late harvesty character some have; still going strong and will go another 10 yrs at least. Howard’s wine.

And another wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. BaroloChinato: The Pellegrino is an example of a genre most well-known as Barolo Chinato. I had my first
    Chinato from DarrellCorti back in the mid-'70’s and sorta liked it…sorta. It’s a very strange wine and
    certainly not to everyone’s taste. I thought it might be potent enough to stand up to the cake. It was…
    but didn’t provide a particularly good match to the cake and vice-verso.
    BaroloChinato is usually made from old Barolo stocks, sweetened w/ plain/ole cane sugar syrup, and then
    flavored with quinine and other aromatic herbs. It’s mostly classically used as a digestif and not at
    its best accompaning a dessert. It’s most classic characteristic is an aromatic/medicinal nose and a very
    strong bitterness. There certainly must be some disease against which Chinato is the recommended drug
    of choice.
    This Pellegrino, from the OltrepoPavese region, is one of the better examples I’ve had because of
    its complex aromatics. One person was getting genetian out of it…outside my range of experience.
    Interesting if a bit strange beverage.

Compliments…that’s a lot of sweet stuff for a tasting! I enjoy simple, fizzy wines with salumi a great deal, too, a habit picked up from spending a lot of time in Italy; it’s how they do it. I have to say, however, that I’ve usually found brachetto too sweet, and prefer the tannic bite under off dry fruit of Lambrusco, Marzemino, and Bonarda.

That said, I’ve literally only had half of the Brachetto you tasted for this sitting, so maybe I just need to taste more in order to develop my taste, and I’ve never had one with more than a couple o’ three years age, so the mature part I’m missing altogether.

An interesting tasting that I’m glad to have read about, so thank you for posting. The salumi sound like the real treats there, though!

Tend to agree that the young Brachetti tend to be too sweet, too soda-popy, to go well with the Salumi; and I prefer the more rustic Lambrusci w/ them.
Indeed, harvesting all these salumi was a labor of love and the high point of the tasting…the wines more of a sidenote.
I’m a big fan of artisinal salumi/charcuterie and think the US industry is where the US artisinal cheese movement was about 20 yrs ago.
As production of artisinal salumi grows, I hope demand for these fizzy/off-dry wines grow. Randall/BonnyDoon makes a frizzante Freisa of this style
that I like quite a lot. It would, of course, have to be Randall there to lead the charge.

If you come across it, Matteo Corregia makes a really good dry Brachetto, probably the only one I’ve seen in release in my limited corner of the USA. Posted a note on it here several months ago, and it sank like a stone off the first page.