Basket Misto - Third selection (April)
We suggest: the high acidity and moderately rich flavours makes it a good companion to roast meat (try Chinese roasted pork) or cheesy vegetarian dish. Served at 15-17 degrees C.
What is it & what is it like? Rosso di Montalcino is very often referred to as "baby Brunello" because it is from the same family and almost literally "cut from the same cloth", as it is also made with 100% Sangiovese grapes. The baby, or Junior, tag refers to the less intense taste compared to Brunello. This is partly because of the choice of grapes and partly the shorter ageing time (16 months for this Rosso).
A good Rosso di Montalcino, as we have found, is just a different expression than Brunello and is to suit different occasion and mood. Its aroma and tastes are more dominated by red fruits, with some Christmas spices and coffee. It is medium in body and tannins, so can fit well with a weekend lunch of roast meat, even pasta. Try to open at least an hour ahead to allow the spices to be expressed better. Serve at around 18 degrees C.
What is it like? The Müller Thurgau grape is a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale and even its own name has an interesting history.
This wine is a youthful and simple expression of the grape. With aromas of green apple, white pepper and a bit of sweet mint leaves, it is light and refreshing with a juicy and nervy sensation in palate. Great refresher in summer parties, with appetisers and finger food. Serve chilled at 8-10 degrees.
Basket Misto - second selection (Mar)
What is it like: if you know Amarone already, then it is almost a junior Amarone. It has an enticing aromas of brandy, ripe cherries, even a whiff of cured meat if you allow the wine to breathe longer. There is a good balance of medium body, acidity and tannins, making it a good pair with stewed dishes, roasted duck, or richly cheesy lasagna.
Open at least an hour ahead and serve at around 18 degrees C.
What is it like: this is an easy-going wine that projects the warmth of southern Italy, juicy red fruits, and modest tannins. Drink slightly chilled as aperitif, or normal (16 degrees) when you want to feel more of its fruity flavours.
We suggest: this is a good pair with your seafood dishes when you want a touch of the maritime and tropical fruit flavours, and a medium body. Serve at 12 degrees to strike a balance between peachy flavours and tangy freshness.
Basket Misto - First selection (Feb)
What is it like? Only less than 20 producers can use this Alta Langa DOCG which denotes sparkling white made in the same method as Champagne. Made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (Nero), this sparkling Brut has a floral and hint of bread crust in the nose, a refined foam that is gentle on the palate, and white fresh peach in flavour.
Keep in the fridge at least 2 hours before serving.
What is it like: Barbera grapes from Asti, as compared to Alba, typically have more delicate structure because of the higher composition of sandy soil.
Bric Rocche is from a single parcel of vines at least 40 years old and some as old as 60 years. The old vines give the wine an intensity in colours and flavours. The aromas are similar to ripe heart-shape dark plum and chinese black tea. The relatively high acidity and the fruitiness gives it a tangy flavour while the medium body modest tannins give the sense of smoothness.
Open 1 hour ahead and serve at around 17-18 degrees. It goes very well with the Chinese roast pork and BBQ pork, and can go with lightly spicy food.
What is it like? With aromas of white peach, hint of jasmine and white pepper, this Pinot Bianco is refreshing and thirst-quenching. A soothing aperitif when it is warm, or when you need a cooling companion to your meal. Serve chilled at 8-10 degrees.