Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Handful of Fun - DOCG Dessert Wines from Italy

I’ll admit that of the eleven twelve DOCG wines that can be sweet...

• Recioto di Gambellara
• Recioto di Soave
• Montefalco Sagrantino Passito
• Elba Aleatico Passito
• Brachetto D'Acqui
• Moscato d'Asti
• Moscato di Scanzo
• Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit
• Ramandolo
• Barolo (Chinato)
• Albana di Romagna Passito
* Recioto della Valpolicella (New)
...three I have never delighted in having.

The Elba Aleatico Passito and Moscato di Scanzo are the newest of the DOCG dessert wines. I regret to say that those two along with the Recioto di Gambellara I haven't had the opportunity to pop the corks on.

Which ones have you had?

Actually there are wines that have never made it to DOCG status that I have had and loved. The Sicilian wines from Marsala, Pantelleria and Lipari are favorites in my house. I also love the Vini Maculani such as Torcolato and Dindarello, from Vespaiola and Orange Moscato grapes. And the oddities that pass my way, from the sherry like Passito from Chambave to the botrytised whites from Abruzzo. What else? Anyone lucky enough to get inside the ancient caves below Orvieto will find the original Orvieto, done up in a thick syrupy style. And of course the Vin Santo from Tuscany and beyond.

It seems that almost everywhere one goes in Italy there is a winemaker who has a hidden barrel of something dolce e delicioso. The Italians love sweet wines, which explains how almost 25% of all DOCG wines are.

I have written elsewhere of wines that are now dry which started out thick and rich and high in residual sugar. Amarone and Sagrantino first come to mind. Amarone has kept the older tradition alive with their Recioto and Sagrantino has a Passito version also available. It is wonderful to drink this wine and to contemplate the Italians drinking those 200 years ago, a nice way to time travel from the lazy boy in the living room.

What dessert wines have you had from Italy that you love? Give us a holler, leave us a note.


Meg Houston Maker said...

I've had Recioto di Soave and Moscato d'Asti. Wonderful! Would love to try some of the others. I fear they're not as common, though. Cheers!

tom hyland said...


Fun post and nice to see someone write about Italian dessert wines - I thought I was one of the few that loved them! Maybe we'll have to start a fan club or something similar!

Actually, you left out one sweet DOCG- the Albana di Romagna Passito. Not hard to understand, as it's difficult to find. I did try one once, medium sweet with a distinct nuttiness, though it was a tad heavy.

As for non-DOCG dessert wines, I tried the Luigi Maffini Fiano Passito from the 2004 vintage last month in Campania. Absolutely heavenly - one of the most elegant dessert wines I've had from anywhere - as clean as a whistle!

Alfonso Cevola said...

Doh! Thanks Tom, I fixed the post. I forgot about that little sweetie!

Love Umbria said...

Nice Post Alfonso. I love the Italian description of dessert wines as vini da meditazione. Did you make it to the Excellentia Dessert Wine festival ( last weekend in Perugia?

Mattie John Bamman said...

Wish I could offer the names of specific wineries, but I don't have them. I like brachetto and Moscato d'Asti on most occasions.

Andrzej Daszkiewicz said...

I have tasted through a few cases of samples from Gambellara recently, some of them sweet, some even sweet and frizzante/spumante, and I must confess this was one of the most disappointing tastings I have ever had, with nothing really interesting, and almost all wines (except maybe one) just plain insipid. And I love some sweeties from Italy, I really do!

Greetings from Poland!

Avvinare said...

I have had all of these wines. I am surprised you didn't mention the PAssito di pantelleria (ben rye)... I think you have discovered my private passion, Italian dessert wines. Don't tell everyone though otherwise there will be none left. Have you had a moscato di trani? Cannellino? You always surprise me, positively...
Enjoy IWG.

Avvinare said...

Love Italian dessert wines. They are my new passion, don't let everyone in on the secret though..

Passito di Pantelleria, il mitico Bem Rye di Donna Fugata..
Moscato di trani...
Caro mio AC, we need to do some serious dessert wine tasting insieme. DOCG are great but many hidden gems as well.
Thamks for a great post AC.
As always, you surprise me.

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