The online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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December 2017
« Nov    

From albarino to zweigelt and Alsace to New Zealand, noteworthy wines are made in all corners of the world.  Ahh…how lucky I’ve been to taste through many of the best over the years.

Each has it’s own story, and as a wine writer I embrace the opportunity to put a face on each of them as opportunities arise.  Now, with the holiday’s in full swing, there is no better time to feature what I feel is undoubtedly the greatest wine to enjoy during this festive season.  So, gather ’round and listen to a short holiday tale.

Is it actually possible to think of this season without hearing the “pop!” of a sparkling wine cork leaping out of a bottle?  How about the dreaded office party, or keeping the alcohol levels under control while enjoying a little holiday cheer?  What about the alluring bright reds, pristine whites, and aromatic foods filling every nook and cranny of your home?  Don’t forget the sweet treats too.  Ah yes…the holidays!

Wouldn’t it be great to make a potion from all that splendor and pour it in a glass? 

Combine brilliant reds, fully frothing whites, strawberry aromatics, a bit of sweetness, all the while being very low in alcohol and you’ve got the wold’s greatest holiday wine:  Brachetto d’Acqui. (pronounced bra-KET-o)

Yes, it’s true.  These fully sparkling wines from Italy’s Piedmont are absolutely unmatched for the holiday season.  I’ll never forget the first one I tried.  I looked at the woman I was tasting with and exclaimed “It just screams Christmas in a glass!”.  Not a year goes by without me proclaiming everywhere I go about the power of Brachetto d’Acqui to capture the essence of the holidays in just a few ounces.

Brachetto is the actual name of the grape used in these distinctive wines, most of which is made in the well known Italian sparkling wine region of Asti.  At least 85% of the wine must be made from Brachetto, but in practice they are usually 100% varietal bottlings. 

What these wines sometimes lack in traditional complexity is more than made up for with the eyes and common sensibility.  Unlike Moscato d’Asti, BdA’s are fully sparkling, a stunning Santa suit red, and typically weigh in at around 5.5% alcohol.  Yup, that isn’t a typo folks.  You could have nearly three glasses of this instead of a single serving of an Amador County zinfandel!  Hey, I love Amador zins, but that’s another column…

You won’t find BdA’s at most grocery stores, but shouldn’t have too much trouble locating one at your local wine shop. 

Happy Holidays!

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