Several years ago Sergio Germano made an experimental batch of 'classic method' sparkling wine from early harvested Nebbiolo, and it was delicious. Red berries, bright acidity, beautiful pink color, I was smitten. Now we have enough to actually sell the wine, and we are very happy about it. The 'Rosanna' is named after Sergio's mother; it's made of young-vine Nebbiolo from around his winery (all Barolo vineyards), picked fairly early for freshness, pressed carefully for a pale pink color, fermented as white wine (80% in stainless steel, 20% in used barriques for complexity), and bottled for the second fermentation in March following the vintage. After about 16 months of time on the lees the wine is disgorged and topped up only with the same wine, no 'liqueur.' The result is dry, delicious and complex, perfect as an aperitif but I think it would be great with salmon, too. Italy's most interesting sparkling wines are made of indigenous varieties, and this is one of them. The result is dry, delicious and complex (only 3g/L of residual sweetness).
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I went to lunch with Mauro Buffagni, the owner of our Lambrusco producer Barbolini, and we started with 'Gnocco Fritto' with very good Prosciutto di Parma. Gnocchi Fritti are addictive puffs of fried dough; when eaten warm with the ham and washed down with Mauro's Lambrusco di Sorbara they were perfect, one of the best things I ate on my trip. Lambrusco di Sorbara is lighter than the Castelvetro Lambrusco we've always imported from Barbolini, more fragrant, a delicious contrast. As always with sparkling wines made by this method, we import smaller amounts frequently so as to ensure freshness.