I participated in a Snooth virtual tasting the other evening and was very pleasantly surprised by one of the wines that I tried, the Rotari Brut. I had of course seen Rotari in my years in Italy and in the US as well.
This very nicely priced wine is a cuvée of Chardonnay grapes grown in the Adige Valley. The wine is made from 50 different parcels of land which each produce a base wine that is then blended together. The wine is made in the “Metodo Classico” manner as opposed to the charmat method which is traditionally used for Prosecco.
The Rotari Brut is bottle fermented for 18-24 months. By law, in order to have the Talento DOC classification, a wine must age for 18 months, be made from grapes grown in DOC areas and be made from only Chardonnay, Pinot bianco and/or Pinot Noir. Talento DOC is closely associated with the Northern Italian regions for sparkling wine but can be used throughout the peninsula if a wine adheres to certain rules such as the grape varieties and the fact that they are made in the traditional method.
What was the wine like? Delicious, fruity and fun. The bubbles were very fine and numerous, a good sign when drinking a sparkling wine, as it denotes quality. On the palate it had aromas of apple, pears and nuts in my view. I thought it was a perfect apertif wine or one to drink throughout a meal up until dessert when you need a sweeter wine.
I love the fact that it is also 12.5% in terms of its alcohol content. So often, even sparkling wines are too high in alcohol. In all, this fun wine was great to drink at home with friends or bring to a party. It is certainly a crowd pleaser and one glass will surely lead to many more.
Italian sparkling wines can be confusing, especially now that everyone is getting into the act and making sparklers from a variety of grapes. Sparkling wines are usually made using either the traditional method where secondary re-fermentation takes place in the bottle or the charmat method where it takes place in the tank. The first method tends to make higher quality, more expensive wines that are drier. The second makes fruiier wines that often have a hint of sweetness.
One area where sparkling wines tend to be made using the classical method is Trentino-Alto Adige. Famous wineries such as Ferrari are household names from this area but there are also smaller producers who are making a name for themselves thanks to their delicious sparkling wines.
One producer that I really like is Arunda from the small mountain town of Meltina located between Merano and Bolzano. The winery is located at 1200 meters. They do not own their own grapes but buy from trusted local producers. The grapes are Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco. I have tried the Brut whcih is 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco and 20% Pinot Nero. It was peachy and had aromas of apricot with fine bubblies. I also tried the Blanc de Blancs made with 100% Chardonnay. The wine ages in French barriques and had a gorgeous perlage with aromas of apple and pear. I also ttied the Extra Brut Cuvee Marianna which was 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Nero and aged in barriques. It had hints of mango, melon and passion fruit as well as yeast notes.
A friend of mine suggested that I try the wines from this winery when I was at Vinitaly last year. I am glad I did. During the holiday season, I like to try all sorts of bubbly. The real truth is that I like sparkling wines all year long.