Brachetto is a grape that is native to Piedmont, in particular to the provinces of Asti and Alessandria. Brachetto 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 sweetness and a contained level of alcohol. I much prefer the sparkling version which is why I am including it in my round-up of sparkling wines for the year.
According to Native Grapes by Ian D’Agata, there are a host of grapes called Brachetto but only three clones to mention and of those, Cvt 20, has the “highest sugar concentration with ripe and higher aromatic molecules such as geraniol, nerol, and citronellol.”
The Consortium, Viticulture, Vinification
The consortium was formed in 1992 and the area received D.O.C.G. status in 1996. There are 60 wineries in the consortium.
The sparkling version is made using the charmat method in tanks and was first produced by Arturo Bersano in the late 19th century. The terroir 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 while 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 but there are many others that have made headway.
Sweet red wines that can be chilled are a trend in the United States and I am sure that Brachetto d’Acqui is garnering more attention.This D.O.C.G. is also a great one to pair with chocolate and fruit dessert.
Braida makes a beautiful one as well that I’ve had. After fermentation and maceration at cold temperature, this wine spends time in pressurized tanks before bottling. Only made in Piedmont, this is another wine which would be a surprise and something new to many.
In a nutshell Brachetto d’Acqui is a perfect wine for this time in our history. Red, fruity and lightly alcoholic. Authentic and indigenous to Piedmont, it can be made into a still or sparkling version or as a passito but that version is pretty rare. It’s delicate bouquet and light touch can bring joy in these trying times and offer some light-hearted pleasure this holiday season.