Cocktail Corner: Italian Reds

Photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Photo by Leslie Dinaberg

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

I’ve got a soft spot for all things Italian, especially red wines.

Barolo is one of my special favorites. The vineyards and wineries in the Barolo district are famous for producing some of Italy’s very finest red wines—predominantly from the region’s signature grape variety, Nebbiolo.  The area includes a handful of micro-terroirs that, thanks to their sun exposure, soil and climate, as well as the ages of the vines and the care lavished on them for decades, help to elevate these wines even further.

I recently drank an amazing bottle of Damilano Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2008, which I had been saving for a special occasion (my birthday). It was indeed sumptuous. (Especially when paired with chocolate cake.) Made from 100%  Nebbiolo grapes from 30-50 year old vines, this full bodied red was simply delicious, and well worth the wait. Unfortunately, at upwards from $70-$90 a bottle I’m going to have to wait a while before I’ll get to drink this again.

Thankfully, there are some Barolo bargains to be found, including another wine from the same producers, the Damilano Lecinquevigne Barolo DOCG. Also made from Nebbiolo grapes —from the regions of Barolo, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra and Novello—this lovely, ruby red wine retails under $40.main_variation_na_view_01_204x386

But you don’t have to travel far to enjoy la dolce vida! Locally, Palmina produces a variety of great Italian style red varietals, including at least four different but equally delicious Nebbiolos. Mosby Wines is also creating Italian style wines locally, including award-winning Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio and more, including the latest addition, Dolcetto—the everyday wine of Piedmont, Italy.

Tre Anelli, which has a tasting room in Los Olivos, has some nice Italian style red  varietals too, as does Tres Hermanas, on Foxen Canyon Road in Santa Barbara.

Amore tutto italiano! Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns. Want to know more about drinking “Italian Style?” Here’s a fun article you might enjoy.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 26, 2014.