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Italy is filled with many interesting grape varieties, some well-known, some almost forgotten, but most with an interesting story to tell. In the latter category is the red Grignolino d’Asti grape, which has almost disappeared from its home turf of Piedmont. I recently spied this wine in a restaurant in Manhattan and was attracted to it not only because of its value pricing, at $38 a bottle, but also because I remembered Grignolino from the time when I lived in Napa Valley. Back then, a Grignolino produced by Joseph Heitz was about the only bottling I could afford to buy from this venerable estate.
Grignolino makes a light-bodied red, full of acidity and tannins. It takes a careful hand in the cellar to make it successfully. The Luca Ferraris Vigna Del Casôt Il Salotto de Ruché 2009 was just the ticket to cut through the rich, fatty flavors of a suckling pig dish I had. This wine was fermented and aged totally in stainless steel and features aromas and flavors of eucalyptus and dried cherry, with a touch of anise. It is distinctive and worthy of attention in a crowded world of wine. Luca Ferraris is committed to maintaining its traditional style, and I hope his efforts will help this grape survive and prosper. I rated this wine 86 points, non-blind.
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