June 13, 2023 by Arden Montgomery
Spotlight on Italian Wine
Normally for these spotlight articles we would include a (very, very) brief history or overview of the wine culture within the region on which we were focused. Honestly, even the short version of Italy’s viticultural connections would require Chicago Manual formatting and a full citations page, and we just don’t have time for it. Maybe someday – stay tuned.
Winemaking’s true cradle of emergence is debatable, but Italy’s claim to the title is a strong one. We used to think that early Greek cultures brought the practice with them from one Mediterranean peninsula to the other. However evidence predating this migration indicates small-scale grape cultivation and wine production was happening as far back as the neolithic period in la stivale.
A few empires, many many wars, a whole lot of cultural evolution, and thousands of years later, Italy remains one of the world’s premier sources of delicious and varietous wines, spanning from the ultra-sophisticated, to the utterly accessible.
We’re obviously fans of the genre and have more than a few delectable small-batch Italian wines in our cellars at Argaux. Allow us to introduce you to a few of our favorites.
7 Italian wines from the Argaux collection
This wine is from the sun-kissed island on Sardinia. Known as the “Yachtsman’s White” Vermentino is one of the greatest wines to pair with seafood.
2021 Piaggia Sangiovese ‘Pietranera’ Toscana – $25
This wine is so smooth and an absolute pleasure to drink. It is an unparalleled value for the level of quality and our ‘gaux-to weeknight Italian sipper.
Sancerre, Gruner Veltliner, Vermentino lovers – This one’s for you. Grown on the volcanic island of Ischia, this wine quite literally tastes like the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Our director of imports enjoyed this wine for the first time with a large bowl of pasta alla vongole after an ocean dip. “The salty sea still lingering on my lips and this light, crisp wine on that hot day was unparalleled.”
Ettore Germano is one of the best producers from the traditional appellation of Barolo making elegant and precise wines that respect the region’s heritage. The Barolo di Serralunga Ettore Germano is perfect for those who want to know the authentic and traditional face of Barolo. Young and powerfully composed, this wine is graceful, yet structured, and clear in the mouth.
- NV Ottomani Tuscan Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – $35
Surprise – it’s olive oil!
Arguably just as storied as viticulture, olive and olive oil production has a history on all corners of the Med which parallels – if not rivals – its viticultural cousin. Olives are and were a hugely impactful crop in Italy and offer a meal staple which is consumed morning, noon, later afternoon, and night across the country.
This olive oil, like all the wines we keep in stock, is a blend of 4 different small-batch, hand-harvested fruits, and an exquisite addition to any recipe, as a matrix, or a drizzle to add fat and flavor to your meal. Our suggestion is to use it as a base for fresh basil pesto, served over absolutely anything.
Like a newly blossomed flower, this wine is fresh and aromatic. Its bright acidity, serious structure, and long, herbal finish will make you want to take a bite of food. Pizza, pasta, or salami and pecorino anyone?
- 2018 E. Pira Chiara Boschis ‘Mosconi’ Barolo – $135
Here’s the Barolo we know and love. This muscle-bound wine makes no bones about flexing its strength and power in the mirror each morning, and we can’t blame it – it knows what it’s about, and so do we. Rich, deep, dark and formidable, this wine has undeniable structure that provides incredible scaffolding for deep, fruity notes and spice-scrubbed leather.
Pair it with something unexpected, like a sesame-forward noodle and spicy bok choy.
Other offerings from Argaux
If you want to take your Italian wine experience to the next level, we’ve got more than a few gifts in the archives that will guide the way.
Distinctly missing from the above list is a bottle of bubbles, and we’re making up for that now by offering to you our Bargaux Cocktail Kit, featuring NV Sorelle Extra Dry Prosecco and Volume Primo vermouth. Also in the kit, crafty wine drinkers will find a recipe book chock full of instructions for creating delicious, surprising, and exciting cocktails – including and in addition to the ingredients in the kit.
Check out our gifts page for more kits, baskets, and treats from Argaux.