Approved By Hitchcock

Pinot Nero 2019
Dry white wine
Oltrepò Pavese DOC
Organic,  hand-harvested 
Casteggio, Italy
Owners & winemaking family: The Odero family, latest generation: Valeria Radici Odero

The absolute faintest glimpse of blush warmth on a pale gold like a smile from a crush. Scents of wet granite, tiny roses, light cherry, peaches, and a little lemon in the back. This is a delicious jumble of peaches, nectarines, pluots, yellow and red cherries, a citrus splash, and a little funk way back. Within this mellow and velvety fruit basket there is a dry slate that ends it all quite nicely. Dress me up, dress me down…this glass is welcome anywhere.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Nope it destroys the delicate beauty

Here’s a bottle tracing a hundred years of history (1919-2019). The latest generation, Valeria Radici Odero, can look back to the start with her great grandfather resettling back to Italy from the UK by acquiring a majestic new home on a hill called “Frecciarossa” (red arrow). Well this arrow’s real name was “fraccia rossa” (red landslide)…oops! His son Giorgio not only fell for the land but also Pinot Nero, and was so passionate about it he went to France to learn from the best. Bottling his own magic, the wine garnered notice…even a high alert from Alfred Hitchcock who downed a few at the posh Villa D’Este. Giorgio passed the torch to his daughter Margherita, and now we are full circle with her daughter Valeria. Can’t wait to see where the next 100 years takes them.

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Wine with a View

Les Crêtes
Pinot Nero 2019
Valle d’Aosta D.O.P.
100% Pinot Nero
Guyot trained, hand harvested, ladybugs, and only stainless steel
Aymavilles, Valle d’Aosta, Italy
Winemaking Family: Charrère family (Costantino, Imelda, and their daughters Elena and Eleonora)

Shiny ruby ring pop color. Oh this smells delicious…caramel buttery, raspberries, plums, earth, dark cherry, cola, magnolias (how I miss climbing my great aunt’s massive tree), and maybe vanilla or sugar cookies. Dancing on my tongue are plums with some earthiness, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, and a tiny bed of herbs like singed sage. It’s a juicy dry wine.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: adds smoke and plummy floral goodness

The Charrère family was originally from France but packed up in the 1700s for Valle d’Aosta. Starting off as a farm and mill, the generations carried on with planting vineyards, making flour and cider, and when Constantino’s father Antoine came along he eventually turned to redeveloping and enlarging the vineyards. Constantino is now carrying on his parents work (even though he had the fun job of gym and ski instructor) along with his wife and kids, and they have made Les Crêtes into the estate it is now. All of their hard work, passion and nurturing rare indigenous grapes has brought them critical acclaim and awards. One thing on their site really makes me smile. Their daughters would go out to catch ladybugs to police the vineyard from other pests. Oh and I would be remiss not to mention their beautiful “Il Rifugio del Vino” designed by Domenico Mazza. Created as a modern mountain hut, it houses a library on wine, an area for tasting and just a beautiful place to chill and take in the breathtaking view.

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Tangled Tingle of Fun

Tenuta Belvedere
WAI 2018
Sparkling Rosé
Oltrepò Pavese in Provincia di Pavia Lombardy Italy
Pinot Nero 100%
Organic, biodynamic, ancestral method
Winemakers Federica and Gianluca Cabrini

Pretty, pretty orange pink glass named after a respectful and auspicious Thai greeting. Sniff and there’s a salty breeze, strawberries, orange blossoms, and raspberries. The first taste is a tangled tingle of young strawberries, raspberries and an orange peel dash, a little hay, some mineral/granite and seltzer. Nothing sugary about this glass. It’s clean, elegant, and fresh fun summer love.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: raspberry and strawberry presents but still not sugary. Everything is fresh

Tenuta Belvedere’s wine history dates back to the 19th century, and now it is helmed by the latest generation. Federica Sarchi joined her life with Gianluca Cabrini, he felt the call of the vines, and now they hold the reigns of the winery. From all I find, they are firm believers in the old natural ways and are organic and biodynamic. I really wish I could learn more about them from their website but it is currently under construction, so I will rely on Facebook and Instagram for a little more insight. What I’m finding is a beautiful vineyard with bird nests and ladybugs, a happy family, darn good people, hard work, and a lot of other wines I’m dying to try.

Oltrepò Pavese is the largest wine producing area of Lombardy and they seem to be really into Pinot Nero. This comune is a foodie’s dream. Not only are there amazing wines of diverse native grapes, but there’s also their much loved and revered salame di Varzi. Oh what I wouldn’t do for a slice right now. Another find from the area is their truffles! They range from white to black and are oh so wonderful. Take a tour with a dog and maybe you’ll win the lottery. You can also rent a Vespa (and score a picnic basket), cruise along city streets or roll through the countryside in style.

Venturing outside of Oltrepò, yet not really that far is the Castello di Montesegale (still in Pavia). The site may have had a foothold of a tower as far back as the 11th century, but the Castello was officially built in the 14th century and over the years destroyed and rebuilt to it’s regal medieval status. Now the ancient architecture houses a museum of contemporary art that was launched back in 1975, and has exhibited the likes of Ernesto Treccani (who founded Corrente) and Julian Schnabel.

On to one more thing outside of Oltrepò, but still in Pavia. This I truly stumbled upon and had no idea this was possible, but you can test drive a Ferrari on a real race track for an hour or two. You can let that baby just go and go and go. Does it make me a little scared to think of trying it, YES! Would I do it if I could…hell YES!

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