We discovered our April sparkler, Denny Bini, Levante 90, Malvasia dell'Emilia Frizzante, at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square. (In case you've just tuned in, for years we've kept our sparkling resolution to start each month with a toast over a glass of sparkling wine and we'd love to have you join us. More about that here.)
We nearly missed out on this appealing wine because Eastern Standard pours one of my favorite sparklers and I was ready to enjoy that once again. I did ask about the new addition on the sparkling menu, but frowned at the words "slight sweetness" when our bartender described it.
Ed encouraged me to have a taste before I fell back on an old favorite. The young man behind the bar concurred and Ed and I both quickly learned that the frizzante hid whatever sweet notes others found in this wine.
What's more, it opened up in the glass after a couple of swirls and seemed perfect for the food we had ordered. This is not a wine for everyone and it is very much a wine that you will enjoy more with food.
Ed's salmon was a match since a sip of this Malvasia cleared the palate of the lush fattiness of the salmon.
Rather than a full sparkler, this wine is frizzante. What's that? Here's a definition and an interesting article from the wiseGEEK site.
"… Italians refer to slightly sparkling wines as frizzante wines. In Spain, however, these wines are known as Vino de Aguja. The French term for them is Petillant, while the German term is Perlwein."
Tip for wine seekers: Photograph the back of the bottle so you'll have the information you'll need to find wines in retail shops.
We located this Malvasia for sale at the Wine Bottega in the North End. (Call before you run over there. The selection in a small, focused wine shop like this is constantly changing.) Here's their description of the wine.
"Slightly effervescent, bottle fermented, orange-ish, aromatic, dry malvasia from the Fizz Belt of Italy? Need we say more? Denny Bini is a very small scale, cult followed producer in Emilia-Romagna. His wines are a reference point for the locals there and they are finally available (in very limited quantities) here in the US."
Here's an article from Wine Enthusiast about Orange wines. As they say, these are not for everyone, they are enjoying a cult following right now, and they are wonderful at matching multiple courses or a table of different choices at a restaurant.
I had chicken pot pie with this Malvasia and it works as well with this typical white wine dish as it did with the salmon.
Now you see how we discover wines new to us.
- We explore wine menus we trust.
- We take those offered sips.
- We follow suggestions from servers in places where food and wine training is part of the restaurant's culture.
- We go to a few carefully selected wine tastings.
- We listen to our wine mentors.
We've been fortunate over the years to have met a number of people in the wine and hospitality industry who have been incredibly generous in feeding our constant cravings for wine knowledge. Thanks to each and every one of them.
Here are all the wines we've covered. (Since this is a category, today's post may appear at the top. Just scroll down for more.)
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Words: Penny Cherubino
Photography: © 2015 Penny & Ed Cherubino