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We’re missing Italy. You’re missing Italy. Everyone’s missing Italy! Since we all wish we could be sipping wine while traveling around Italy, we’re partnering with Luca Bosio wines to talk about Italian wine.
When we lead our group trips, travelers constantly comment on how many Italian wines they encounter that they’ve never had stateside and it’s no surprise in a country that has the most native grape varieties in the world.
Italian Native Grapes
Whether it’s Pignoletto in Emilia-Romagna, Grechetto in Umbria, or Nerello Mascalese in Sicily, almost every region in Italy has grapes that are practically unknown outside of Italy.
In Northwest Italy, one such grape is Brachetto. We’re partnering with Luca Bosio Vineyards to share it about Brachetto as their located smack dab in the center of the Langhe region of Piedmont where the grape hails from. In fact, they use the grape exclusively to make their “Rosso” and as a mix with fruit juice to make their “Red” and “Black” wine beverages.
What Is Brachetto D’Acqui?
First, you might be wondering how you pronounce Brachetto d Acqui. The answer? It’s “brah-keh-toe dah-kwee.” Now that’s covered we should clarify that the term Brachetto is used to refer to a grape while Brachetto D’Acqui is a light, slightly effervescent, sweet red wine from the Brachetto D’Acqui DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) region (more on that below).
Styles Of Brachetto Wine
The Brachetto grape is almost exclusively grown in Italy’s Piedmont region and is used to make both still and sparkling wines. The wines of Brachetto D’Acqui DOCG tend to be low alcohol, low tannin, medium body, medium acidity, and medium sweetness. But the grape is also used outside of the designated DOCG area to create wines that range in style from off-dry to sweet. So ask to make sure you’re getting the style of wine you’re after.
The Grape Is Believed To Be Native To Piedmont
Brachetto isn’t a very well-known wine stateside, but it is everywhere you turn when you travel to Piedmont. Fitting, seeing as the grape is believed to be native to Piedmont — specifically the areas between Asti, Roero, and Acqui Terme. For a while, it was believed that Brachetto was related to the French grape Brachet but it has now been shown that these are actually two distinct grapes.
Brachetto D’Acqui Has DOCG Status
Brachetto d Acqui is considered the crown jewel of wines made with the Brachetto grape. Its name comes from the fact that it is made with the Brachetto grape and grown near the town of Acqui Terme.
The region achieved DOCG status in 1996 (right after nearby Franciacorta!) and, as such, its production is strictly regulated. Brachetto d’Acqui is to be made with 100% Brachetto grapes grown at specific yields and there are minimum alcohol levels for the wines to be considered frizzante or spumante.
You’ll often hear “rose petals” and “strawberries” thrown around to refer not only to the wine’s color but also its aromatics. And you’ll find all sorts of fun flavors and aromatics ranging from candied strawberry and orange zest to currant.
Think Of It Like The Red Wine Version Of Moscato D’Asti
Though Brachetto is a red wine it has a kinship with Moscato D’Asti. Both are from Piedmont, both are typically low alcohol — around 5% to 6% — they’re usually just a touch fizzy and have a bit of sweetness.
Or The Northwest Italian Take On Lambrusco
Also, if you’re a fan of Lambrusco, then you should give this wine a shot because it shares that same mellow sweetness, frothy bubbles, and light red style and is just as food-friendly.
The Wine Has a Storied Past
One of our favorite stories involving wine and romance is that Julius Caesar supposedly gifted Cleopatra with a wine known as vinum acquenese, which is considered a predecessor to modern-day Brachetto.
Also, in the Italian theater style known as Commedia dell’arte, the famed character of Gianduja (aka Giovanni of the Jug) who was from the Piedmont region was said to have a predilection for Brachetto d’Acqui wine.
It Pairs Great With Aperitivo
Thanks to the barely-there fizz (usually under just 2 atmospheres of pressure as opposed to Champagne which can be under 6 atmospheres) and the low alcohol, these wines are very food-friendly.
Serve it well chilled and pair it with spicy foods, as a start to a meal, or with dessert. We love to serve it for aperitivo along with chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, olives, grissini, spicy cured meats, and potato chips.
And Actually Works With Chocolate
We know, we always say that red wine and chocolate don’t mix; well, Brachetto is very much the exception. It pairs with any sort of rich and creamy chocolate dessert be it truffles, ganache, or gelato. We like to think that’s becuasePiedmont is ground zero for the hazelnut-chocolate spread known as gianduja.
Where To Buy Brachetto Wine
There are some dry versions of the wine but, for the most part, you’ll find Brachetto made as a slightly sweet sparkling wine that’s light-bodied. You may find the wine at your local Italian restaurant or a wine shop that sells lesser-known wines. If you want to try the Luca Bosio wines, scroll to the bottom of their website for a shop finder!
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