2015 Cataldi Madonna “Giulia” Pecorino – Abruzzo, Italy
This month’s white wine comes from the ancient hamlet Ofena, a picturesque mountain town perched at the base of the Appenine Mountains in central Italy. It’s confusing, but Pecorino is actually the name of the grape (no, we are not offering you a salty cheese in lieu of a tasty white wine). Like Pecorino cheese, the name derives from “pecora,” the Italian word for sheep—fitting, as legend claims that the sheep that were herded through this region had a particular affinity for these sweet crunchy grapes.
Though the varietal’s roots can be traced to Abruzzio centuries back, actual wines made from Pecorino didn’t appear on the market until the 1990s. Before that time more prolific grapes like Trebbianno were preferred, while the low-yielding Pecorino became painfully uncool and all but extinct. Thankfully, wineries like Cataldi Madonna championed for the local varietals and are now making serious wines worth seeking out. The Pecorino has been a favorite at Soif for the past several years; It’s just immediately good. The winery is located below the town of Ofena in an area locally known as the “Oven of Abruzzo,” thanks to an amphitheater at the foot of the Appenine Glacier that collects heat. The natural sweetness of the Pecorino grapes and the warm days give the wine a lovely fullness, while cool evening temperatures and salty breezes from the nearby Adriatic keep the wine briny and refreshing.
Though the options are endless for a versatile white wine like this, we challenge you to attempt some traditional central Italian dishes: fried Castelvetrano olives stuffed with sausage, grape-studded focaccia or chitarra pasta with lamb and sweet pepper ragout.
2015 Mateo Correggia “Anthos” Brachetto Roero – Piemonte, Italy
This wine has been a “Soif wine” since the very beginning (14 years ago now)! Brachetto, an aromatic varietal from Piedmont, may never achieve world domination, but in our minds it’s important and it has a place at your table and in your glass.
Sweet, sparkling versions from the Brachetto d’Acqui DOC are probably the best known, but it also has a history as a still, dry wine like this month's red selection. The “Anthos” Brachetto from Matteo Correggia shows the varietal's more serious side with bright notes of red strawberry, dried rose petals and pink peppercorns. The grapes come from the Roero region, just across the river from Barolo and Barbaresco. The sandy soils allow for wines with bright juicy fruit and perfumed aromatics--Brachetto shines here.
Matteo Correggia inherited his family’s vineyards in 1985 at the ripe old age of 23. With the support of several great producers in the area, he continued his family’s tradition of farming excellent fruit, established a winery and began to make serious wines from Roero--an area that did not have much acclaim at the time. Thanks to Correggia and several other forward-thinking producers, Roero has been elevated to the highest quality level, DOCG. Sadly, in 2001, Matteo passed away in a tragic accident, but his wife Ormella is now carrying on his legacy. She farms the grapes according to organic and biodynamic practices and is committed to low intervention in the cellar. If this is not a club candidate, we aren’t sure what is.
If you’ve never had this wine, you’re in for a treat.
If you already know and love this wine, you’ve already popped it in the fridge (it’s delicious slightly chilled) and stocked up on some salumi from el Salchichero to munch on while you sip on this aromatic stunner. Cured meats are divine with this wine, but for something more adventurous, try pairing it with exotically spiced Thai red curry.