Brachetto is a grape variety grown in the Piemontese region of northwest Italy. Over the years, I have tasted only a few still red versions, none of which were anything really to write home about.
My first eye opening experience with this grape variety was tasting a Brachetto d’Acqui….which today is a DOCG. I found this fruity, slightly sweet & fizzy red frizzante wine (which can also be made in varying degrees of sweetness & bubble strength),which when made well can be an absolutely delicious, remarkably light, carefree & delightful, thirstquenching & completely refreshing, lower alcohol, RED wine, especially when served well chilled.
The DOCG zone of Brachetto d’Acqui include the Monferrato hills that extend southeast from the town of Asti with some overlap into the Asti DOCG zone. Interestingly, this same grape variety grown in the Roero region of Piemonte, made in the same fashion must be called Birbet, since it lies geographically (& probably geologically & somewhat climatically different) out of the approved D’ Acqui zone.
In both cases however, one has to really dig around to find well made versions.
Because the Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG is growing so fast in popularity, probably piggybacking on the heels of Moscato D’ Asti, albeit on a much smaller scale, the prices for the really good ones has recently quickly escalated AND the availability is much more limited.
It has therefore made us to really search around for some interesting Birbet, now while the prices & availability are still good.
One of the very best Birbets we have had to date is produced by Malvira, a high recommendation from superstar winemaker Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta fame.
This family estate is committed to growing & producing truly superb quality wines….white, red & Brachetto….& are well worth seeking out.
While this kind of wine is ideal for sipping, well chilled on a hot day or after a hard day’s work, it can also be the way to end a meal on an uplifting, completely refreshing note. Another interesting thought is to try a glass with seared foie gras, in place of rich, unctuous Sauternes. Plus, the pairing is much easier to follow in the sequence of the meal. Think about it….How can one follow Sauternes & foie gras?