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Pico Maccario Lavignone Rosato 2017
A good rosé is not just pleasurable, it is versatile too. Lavignone Rosato's bright aromatics and dry finish make it ideally suited to a wide range of dishes that incorporate fresh, in-season ingredients -- particularly fresh vegetables and tomatoes. From a cool salad of farfalle pasta, fava beans, cherry tomatoes and spring onion to salt-baked red snapper with coconut rice to an evening on the back patio, Lavignone Rosato is right at home.
The estate boasts state-of-the-art equipment, including stainless-steel tanks that have computerized controls for monitoring temperature and all stages of fermentation. The soils of Mombaruzzo are primarily clay, which impart full body and a silky texture to the wines. Both wines are aged exclusively in stainless-steel tanks to preserve the freshest fruit flavors. The name of the entry-level Barbera, Berro, means "I will drink," and refers to the wine's easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing purity. Lavignone is named after one of the 18th-century farmhouses located on the property. Its velvety mouthfeel and bright cherry and blueberry flavors come at a remarkably advantageous price point, one rarely seen for Barbera of this quality in this day and age, offering great value.
Set upon a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, the enchanting and rolling hills of Piedmont are the source of some of the country’s longest-lived and most sought-after wines. Vineyards cover a great majority of the land area—especially in Barolo—with the most prized sites at the top hilltops or on south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. Piedmont has a continental climate with hot, humid summers leading to cold winters and precipitation year-round. The reliable autumnal fog provides a cooling effect, especially beneficial for Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most prestigious variety.
In fact, Nebbiolo is named exactly for the arrival of this pre-harvest fog (called “nebbia” in Italian), which prolongs cluster hang time and allows full phenolic balance and ripeness. Harvest of Nebbiolo is last among Piedmont's varieties, occurring sometime in October. This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure; the best examples can require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. Across the Tanaro River, the Roero region, and farther north, the regions of Gattinara and Ghemme, also produce excellent quality Nebbiolo.
Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin and juicy red fruit. Dolcetto, Piedmont’s other important red grape, is usually ready within a couple of years of release.
White wines, while less ubiquitous here, should not be missed. Key varieties include Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso, Erbaluce and the sweet, charming Muscat, responsible for the brilliantly recognizable, Moscato d'Asti.
Whether it’s playful and fun or savory and serious, most rosé today is not your grandmother’s White Zinfandel, though that category remains strong. Pink wine has recently become quite trendy, and this time around it’s commonly quite dry. It is produced throughout the world from a vast array of grape varieties, but the most successful sources are California, southern France (particularly Provence), and parts of Spain and Italy.
Since the pigment in red wines comes from keeping fermenting juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period, it follows that a pink wine can be made using just a brief period of skin contact—usually just a couple of days. The resulting color will depend on the grape variety and the winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta. These wines are typically fresh and fruity, fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel to preserve the primary aromas and flavors. Most rosé, with a few notable exceptions, should be drunk rather young, within a few years of the vintage.