This month our Italian food, wine, and travel group heads to the Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG in Piemonte while maintaining social distances from our homes. This wine is newer to me and I’m betting to many of you as well.
About 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of Brachetto grapes are grown on hillsides throughout the area. Considered ancient and indigenous to Piedmont, Brachetto skins contain Geraniol, which gives a unique red rose scent. I started down a wine geek rabbit hole researching that one!
Three styles of wine are made under this DOCG: frizzante (slightly sparkling, fizzy), spumante (sparkling), and passito (dessert wine). The Charmat, also known as tank or Martinotti method is most commonly used to create the sparkling versions. This method utilizes pressurized tanks versus bottle for the second fermentation… many Prosecco are made via this process too.
After grapes are crushed, the must (skins, seeds, stems and juice) soaks for two to three days to permit the extraction of color- When seen in a glass you could mistake it for a deep rosé.
Next is fermentation in stainless tanks followed by bottling then sitting for about three months.
At this point, it’s available for sale… but not in Bordeaux! I located the small winery Azienda Agricola La Gironda in Monferrato producing Brachetto and am taken by its leading lady, Susanna Galandrino. You can read about our virtual meeting and her Barbera here.
When I asked Mark to grab the frizzante from the cooler, he handed me a Crémant- nope. Then a Champagne- ahhh no. Brachetto isn’t sealed with the typical Muslet wire cage. It does have a mushroom type cork but because pressure is just 1- to 2.5- bars, it’s sealed like a regular wine.
Correct bottle in hand, we popped the cork and headed to our terrace for a quick aperitivo. I’ll note these wines are lower in alcohol, the La Gironda Brachetto just 5.5%.
La Gironda Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG 2018
What a gorgeous color between deep pink and pale ruby. Intense aromas in this glass showcased strawberry and cherry with slight musky rose hints. These fruits follow to the medium body, which immediately tickles your tongue with soft bubbles and hints of baking spice. It has a savory quality too: forest fresh pine and wild rose hips.
While it has residual sugar, as do all Brachetto, it’s in the background balanced by the medium acidity, allowing the fruit and rustic rose components to shine. With softer low tannins, this wine has aromatic intensity and purity that carried well beyond the meal.
And that meal- we started the evening snacking on sliced baguette spread with Saint Agur blue vein soft cheese.
I scored two kilos of white asparagus and turned half into soup with caramelized fennel slices as garniture. And of course I love my greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
A simple dinner showcasing spring flavors enjoyed our on our terrace, can you think of a better way to enjoy a meal? Perhaps one more bottle of Brachetto to sip with dessert!
Our first time dining outside at chez nous. Happy to invite La Gironda Brachetto d’Acqui to the table!
Virtual conversation with Susanna Galandrino at La Gironda – More about the woman behind the winery
On wanting to become a winemaker
I started to do this job “seriously” in 2000, even if here in the region we grow up breathing wine…
I remember when I was a child I went to harvest in my grandparents vineyards (but in that period it was like a game for me!) and from my sixteen, when we move with my family to Calamandrana, I started to help my father to take care of our vineyard and to produce and bottling wine in our small cellar at home. I worked with him in his factory for the production of oenological machines (Robino and Galandrino SPA) and producing wine (not to sell but just for family and friends) was our hobby. We had at home a sort of “bonsai” of all the equipments. Everything was done for a very small production, but – of course – for a great quality also at that time!
On her current, personal focus at the winery
I take care above all of the marketing and sales, but we are a small family winery and everybody need to be able to help in all the other moments of the production.
Then, of course, I work together with my husband for the selection of the grapes during harvest, the vinification and aging of the wines, the selection before bottling. I “put my nose and mouth” in the different moment of the wine life, because the first rule is that I need to ALWAYS love my wines.
On her biggest inspiration
To make very good wine and see that people like them and tell about us to other people… Or when people open and drink one bottle of ours in another country (it happens quite often) and come to visit us and see where the wine is produced!
About the biggest challenges representing La Gironda in the market place
To let people curious to know something more about Nizza DOCG and in general Barbera d’Asti, Moscato and Brachetto, and about the sole area where these DOCG wines can be produced.
On her favorite grape to work with
My favorite grape is Barbera. I always say that here, we have been grown up with Barbera just after the milk!
Her favorite wine to drink
Barbera for sure! It is generous, fruity, soft and warm. Barbera is really a “women in red” and hug you at every taste. Moreover Barbera is a wine that is good to drink young and fresh (try cold in summer time also with fish!), but it’s a great and important wine in the best selection – as Nizza DOCG – to drink also aged.
Find this wine:
The Italian Food, Wine, Travel Group Sips Brachetto
- Susannah at Avvinare explores “Brachetto d’Acqui – A Treat from Piedmont”
- Nicole at Somms Table is pairing “Marenco Pineto Brachetto d’Acqui and Simple Strawberry Treat”
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest is ready to “Brighten Up Lockdown with Brachetto d’Acqui Sparkling Wine #ItalianFWT”
- Jennifer at Vino Travels is enjoying “Brachetto: The Sweet Red Bubbly of Piedmont”
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla is pairing “Stracotto di Manzo al Vino Rosso + Brachetto d’Acqui”
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator is pairing “Brachetto d’Acqui and Grandma’s Biscotti with Cherries Poached in Red Wine and Marscapone #ItalianFWT”
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm is “Whiling Away the Time with Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui Pineto”
- Jeff Burrows at Food Wine Click finds “Piemonte Brachetto: Sweet, Fizzy and Red!”
- Terri at Our Good Life is spending “An Afternoon of Wine Learning: Brachetto d’Acqui”
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass is “Bingeing on Brachetto, Biscotti, Berries and a Chocolate Bunny”
- Marcia at Joy of Wineis exploring “Brachetto: The Sweetie of Piemonte”
- Cindy from Grapevine Experiences – “Bring Joy to the Table with Brachetto d’Acqui and Budino al Cioccolato (Chocolate Pudding Italian Style” #ItalianFWT