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What to do on Saturday night during the pandemic? A local couple invited a group of neighbors for an evening on their backyard deck, ordered platters of small bites and asked me to select wines and lead them through a wine tasting.

The theme was Italian and after discussion with hosts, I recommended 4 flights (sparkling, white, medium and full body red) with 2 wines in each flight. I deviated from the Italian theme to select Champagne (France) for a comparison with Franciacorta. Wines in each flight had similar prices.

FLIGHT 1 SPARKLING WINE
Antica Frata Brut NV, Franciacorta, Italy
– 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir
H Blin Brut NV, Champagne, France
– 80% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay

FLIGHT 2 WHITE WINE
Schiopetto Collio 2018,  Fruili
– 100% Pinot Grigio
Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2017, Roero (Piedmont)
– 100% Arneis

FLIGHT 3 MEDIUM BODY RED
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Volpaia, Tuscany
– 100% Sangiovese
Nino Negri Le Tense Sassella 2017, Valtellina, Piedmont
– 100 %Nebbiolo

FLIGHT 4 FULL BODY RED
Caprili Brunello di Montalcino 2015, Montalcino, Tuscany
– 100% Sangiovese Grosso
Poggio al Tesoro Il Seggio 2016, Bolgheri, Tuscany
– 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon,  20% Cabernet Franc, 10%, Petit Verdot

Talking Points
What are types of Italian sparkling wine?  Everyone answered Prosecco but no one knew Franciacorta, a small region in northern Italy. Franciacorta and Champagne are made using Methode Champenoise (2nd fermentation in bottles) which is very different than Prosecco (fermentation in individual bottles).

Best liked wine in each flight:
. Flight 1 – Franciacorta
. Flight 2 – Pinot Grigio
. Flight 3 – Nebbiolo
. Flight 4 – Brunello

Best liked wine in all flights: Brunello though many were impressed with Nebbiolo and Franciacorta. Merlot based Super Tuscan was also liked in spite of the comment “I really don’t like Merlot”.

Cheers, Bob the WineGuy
Bob the WineGuy on FaceBook and Instagram.
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