Welcome to the first Tawny Times post for Wine Blogging Wednesday! (As well as my first post to The Tawny Times.) Thanks go out to David McDuff at McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail for hosting the theme “A Passion for Piedmont.” With this theme, I can talk about one of my favorite dessert wine obscurities: d’Acqui.
There are all the well known B’s in Piedmont: Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera but there is another B worthy of our sweet tooth’s attention – brachetto. Even Oz Clarke calls brachetto “one of Italy’s more unusual grapes – and that’s saying a lot.”
Brachetto is a light red grape and it’s best expression is found in southern Piedmont around Asti, Alessandria and Roero. It can be made into a still, dry wine, but specifically Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG is frizzante or spumante and medium sweet.
(As The Tawny Times grows, you will see why I hesitate calling this a “sweet” wine.)
The color is a stunning ruby, the nose is intensely aromatic with honeysuckle, strawberries, roses and a touch of clove. The flavors can be as varied by producer as Moscato d’Asti but generally reflect the nose with an additional lift. It’s low in alcohol at 5-6% and the residual sugar is just enough to be paired with desserts or fruit without being cloying. Brachetto is like a light, fizzy raspberry sauce perfect for a chocolate cake with ganache. Just like all bubbles, it helps cleanse the palate. My favorite pairing suggestion is a tramezzini di panettone except I haven’t had much success in locating Pocket Coffee’s in the US.
Because of its scarcity, Brachetto d’Acqui isn’t exactly inexpensive or easy to find. With Banfi’s proliferation in the marketplace “Rosa Regale” is probably one you’ll find on the shelf at your local shop. However, my personal favorite is Braida di Giacomo Bologna. I find that it leans more toward the raspberries where Rosa Regale leans more toward the floral.