Italian Indigenous Varieties: Brachetto Nero

It’s been a while since my last indigenous grape variety post but I’m back and writing about Brachetto Nero, a red grape that is used to make the well-known dessert wine, Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG

The grape is native to Piedmont, in particular to the provinces of Asti and Alessandria. Brachetto d’Acqui produces both sparkling and still wine, that is light ruby red in color, with strawberry-cherry fruit flavors and floral notes and is quite pleasing to the palate with a local level of alcohol.

The sparkling version is made using the charmat method in tanks. Interesting, the soils in the 18 areas in Asti and eight areas in Alessandria where Brachetto grows have a mix of soils: sandy, white soils filled with calcium and lime, as well as red soils. The sandy soils bring fragrant aromas as well as a light body, the red soils bring color, alcohol and body while the whiter soils bring elegance and finesse.

The most widely known Brachetto in the United States at this moment is probably Banfi’s Brachetto d’Acqui Rosa Regale. I had the occasion to taste it again recently at Stefano Milioni’s seminar on Indigenous Varietals at the Vinitaly event in New York.

It was a welcome surprise to the afternoon that day, very pleasing and it made me want to eat it with a sweet such as a piece of chocolate. It seemed like a great Valentine’s day wine for sweet red wine lovers.

Actually, chillable sweet red wines are a trend in the United States now and I am sure that Brachetto d’Acqui is garnering more attention.

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