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Senior editor Alison Napjus joined Wine Spectator in 2000. She is the lead taster for Alsace, Beaujolais and Champagne and also tastes wines from regions throughout Italy.
Alison Napjus

Italian Wine Bliss in Belgium’s Beer Capital

Ercole Velenosi Rosso Piceno Superiore Il Brecciarolo 2007

Alison Napjus
Posted: April 27, 2011

During my recent trip to Europe, I had a weekend off in between Wine Spectator’s 2010 Bordeaux futures tastings and my visit to Champagne. I spent the weekend in Brussels, and my boyfriend and I decided to try the city’s best fine-dining Italian restaurant, Bocconi. It was a splurge on our last day of vacation, as well as a break from pommes frites and waffles.

The stylish restaurant is located in the Hotel Amigo, just off the Grand-Place, and its booth-lined walls and warm lighting offer a relaxing oasis in this bustling part of town. On top of that, the restaurant was very well staffed, with somebody to attend to every need, yet leaving you to enjoy your meal in peace—a fine balance.

The cuisine is a modern take on Italian, and I enjoyed white asparagus (the first of the season) with prosciutto and poached egg to start, followed by duck lasagna. It was well-executed, with good attention to detail and a simplicity that allowed the ingredients to shine. Obviously, I needed something Italian to enjoy with this food, and the restaurant’s list offered a solid range of producers from each of Italy’s regions. But I was the only one drinking wine, so I opted for a by-the-glass selection, the Ercole Velenosi Rosso Piceno Superiore Il Brecciarolo 2007.

This red blended Montepulciano and Sangiovese from the Rosso Piceno area in the Marche region, on the eastern coast of Italy. It offered a smoky baseline and subtle flavors of brambly fruit, dried cherry and spice, with light tannins for structure and well-integrated acidity. It was an excellent food wine, and I gave it 88 points, non-blind. At only 8 euros a glass, it was very reasonable, particularly in this rather high-end restaurant, and I enjoyed it so much that, rather then exploring another selection, I went for glass number two to complete my meal.

Bocconi Ristorante (in the Hotel Amigo)
Rue de l'Amigo, Brussels 1000 Belgium
Tel: +32 2 547 4747

WineSpectator.com members: Read the blind-tasting review for more wines from Ercole Velenosi.

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for recently rated Top Values among Italian reds.

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