BACK AWAY FROM THE CABERNET Can you believe it’s already December…the month of countless parties, gift giving, and dare I say drinking?? Who doesn’t love a Cabernet on a cold winter’s night or at a holiday party? I get it, it’s comfortable and familiar, but why not take a few risks when you need to bring a bottle to a party or as a last minute gift to give to your second cousin twice removed that you didn’t think you would get to see this month? Dare to be different this holiday season and back away from the Cabernet! Ever hear of a Brachetto d’ Acqui? It’s a party in your glass! This is such a charming wine that few people know about. It is named for the Brachetto grape as well the Acqui district in southern Piedmont not far from the town of Asti in Italy. The trick here is to drink this young (within a year of vintage is ideal) to maintain its super freshness and brightness. The wine is generally medium-bodied and tends to be sweet. It is usually lightly sparkling or what the Italians call “frizzante.” I opened a bottle of Cavallero Brachetto d’ Acqui 2014 DOCG. They did a beautiful job representing what the grape is capable of. This had an appealing cranberry color with aromas of strawberries, black raspberries, violets, and orchids. This Brachetto had delicious flavors of black cherry, strawberries, and watermelon. It was incredibly refreshing and perfect to pair with roasted nuts, amaretto cake, or chocolate. Being only 6% alcohol content you can easily put this down - but I’d enjoy it. Unfortunately the one I tasted is not imported in the states but they sell Brachetto d’ Acqui at larger wine shops. If you don’t think everyone on your holiday gift list appreciates bubby, here are some honorable mentions that impress without breaking the bank. Try a Vranac from Bosnia or a Plavac Mali from Croatia. These red wines are super interesting, delicious, and sure to please! Sláinte!
ABOUT THE WRITER Eric McMillan, The Chicago Wino, is your source for lighthearted reviews of wine. thechicagowino.com also features links to fun tools like wine/food pairing, ideal serving temperatures, and "must try" bottles! Visit thechicagowino.com for a simple look at some complex flavors. "Like" Eric on Facebook–The Chicago Wino