In “Valtellina, Another Side of Nebbiolo,” chief wine critic Eric Asimov announces that this month’s “Wine School” theme will be the region of Valtellina.
“Wine School” is a monthly column in which Asimov selects a grape variety or wine region for readers to learn about. Readers are then invited to drink the wines and discuss them online. In the following month’s column, he goes into further detail about the theme selected, and summarizes readers’ impressions of the wines.
For this month’s exploration of Valtellina, Asimov suggests three wines for readers to seek out and comment on, including ALDO RAINOLDI Grumello Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2015.
He writes that “no place is more famous for its nebbiolo wines than the Langhe in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, home to Barolo and Barbaresco. But the Langhe is far from the only place in which nebbiolo prospers…east of the Piedmont in Lombardy, northeast of Milan almost at the Swiss border, is Valtellina, where nebbiolo, known there locally as chiavennasca, makes remarkable wines. Valtellina is also Alpine, but the grapes are planted on south-facing slopes that trap the sunlight, which helps them ripen sufficiently to make rich wines.”
The article includes a prominent photo (below) of the three wines from Valtellina selected for the column.
Stay tuned for Asimov’s detailed write-up on the region in early March!
In “Great Retsina, an Oxymoron No More,” Eric Asimov expounds on the Greek wine retsina, which “appears to be undergoing a renaissance.” He recalls the first memorable retsina he tried, GAI’A Ritinitis Nobilis Retsina. Asimov refers to Gai’a as “one of Greece’s best modern wineries,” and writes: “Since it was first issued, back in 1998, Gai’a has been trying to redefine retsina as a proud custom rather than a genre to be shunned.” He interviews YIANNIS PARASKEVOPOULOS, Gai’a owner and winemaker, who remarks that over 25 year ago when the Ritinitis Nobilis originated, “quality retsinas didn’t really exist.”
Asimov writes that while savatiano is the grape of choice for most retsina producers, “Mr. Paraskevopoulos chose roditis grapes….He also paid close attention to the quality of the resin, he said, making sure it was especially fresh. The result was a refreshing, invigorating wine, with a bright pungency that seems ready-made for Greek cooking in all its garlicky, herbal glory.”
Vasse Felix - New York Times
In “With Beaches, Wine and Buzz, Is This Australia’s Next Hot Place?,” Besha Rodell writes about the Margaret River Gourment Escape, a wine and food festival in Australia. She details the culinary options in the Margaret River region, pointing out that VASSE FELIX is “home to [one] of the state’s most highly awarded restaurants.”