June 2 is the Festa della Repubblica, which commemorates the referendum day in 1946 when Italians decided their government’s future after World War II. The votes were in, the kingdom sent to exile and the rest is history. The celebration of the creation of the Italian Republic takes place in Rome each year with planes flying over the city, leaving smoke plumes the colors of the Italian flag.
Here’s a dozen corks to pop in celebration. Salut!
Bottega Vinaia Pinot Noir 2017, Trentino DOC. A light summer red from northern Italy that does well with a chill. Pretty mineral streak, sour cherry, strawberry and raspberry, fresh fennel notes. Easy drinking with a charcuterie plate or light pasta.
Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico “Gran Selezione” DOCG 2017, Toscana. A “chateau wine” made from 100% Sangiovese by the Mazzei family, in Tuscany since the 15th century. So, they know a thing or two about making wine. This one is sourced from 11 parcels with a deeper expression or ripe red fruits, a mineral, rich chalky streak and aged in larger French oak for 18 months, half of which were new.
Giacomo Fenocchio Roero Arneis DOCG 2019, Alba. Light lemon yellow color shimmers in the glass, and once you dip your nose in, white flowers and ripe pineapple lead you into the wine. Well structured, round with dense yellow fruit, a little waxy and herbal. Terrific with a tuna and feta composes salad.
Inama Veneto Rosso “Bradisismo” 2016, Verona IGT. The super black pepper nose is like sticking in your nose in a pepper mill and gives this wine an exciting jump start. Dry tannins, black fruits—plum and black cherry—with a dusting of cocoa. A more powerful wine than you might expect from northern Italy, but delivers a clean and sharp profile with a chocolate expresso finish.
Frescobaldi “Benefizio” 2018, Castello Pomino Bianca Reserve DOC. Cool old-school blue and gold label is a pretty wrapper for this tasty Chardonnay with its rich, round pear tones. I enjoyed it on day No. 1, but by the third day it was explosive with rich pear, hazelnut, slick anise. Round and savory and lovely.
Marchesi Antinori 2016 Solaia IGT, Toscana. If you’re celebrating big, pull out this super sleek super T chock full of direct cherry and black fruits, savory spice, licorice with an underlay of dark chocolate. Elegant, silky tannins, concentrated and with a strong identity. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cab Franc.
Notari Fattoria Nicodemi “Colline Teramane” 2017, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG. A dark, opaque wine full of chocolate and dark spice, stewed strawberry and a deeper expression of black fruits and a licorice note. Smooth tannins, sweet dark chocolate on the finish – have this with something well charred from the grill.
Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2016. Full bodied wine made in the appassimento method of air drying the grapes (in the sun in the old days, but now in crates or barn lofts). Rich with currants, black berries, warm and rich with silky tannins. Have with a good grill or in the backyard by the firepit.
Scacciadiavoli Vino Spumante Brut Metodo Classico, Montefalco. Here, the red Sagrantino grape is vinified like a white, delivering a rich, warm and satisfying wine with some light brioche, citrus tones, made in the traditional method of second fermentation in the bottle. Pleasant and pleasing. The winery takes its name from a 19th-century exorcist said to use the wine to cast out the devil from poor souls in the nearby village.
Tenuta L’Impostino “Viandante” 2013, Montecucco DOCG. Herbal character showing menthol and anise, then leading into cooked compote of strawberry and cherry pie in this 100% Sangiovese wine. Noticeable tannins, but well integrated with the concentrated fruit, Modena-granular chocolate layers and sprightly acid. Tasted much lighter than its 14% abv. More elegant than a typical pizza night wine.
Travaglini Gattinara Nebbiolo 2016, Piedmont. Estate bottled, caramel-smooth with a citrus kick (!!). Herbal and cooked strawberry and raspberry give way to secondary dried red fruit notes. Fun curvaceous bottle has a celebratory feel to it.
Venturini Baldini Montelocco Lambrusco. A dry wine made of Salamino grapes, showing bright cranberries, pomegranate with the sweetness of dried fruit. Bright acid, herbal tinge, neutral tannins all contribute to this lively fizzy wine.