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Now That's Italian!

Dalla Terra hosts 15 Italian vintners and winemakers for lunch at Bottega.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Dalla Terra (of the earth in Italian) Winery Direct® is a direct importer of a limited selection of Italian wines. Their unique method of shipping, distributing and marketing wine bypasses the national importer in the traditional three-tier system. Thus distributors buy directly from the producer, saving wine consumers money. They recently hosted a private wine luncheon at Bottega Restaurant with vintners and winemakers from each of its portfolio estates—pairing their wines with Bottega’s Italian cuisine.

At the luncheon, I have the pleasure of pairing their wines with the special lunch prepared by Frank Stitt. Much Italian and little English was spoken, but the wines and the meal speak volumes—for themselves. Seated beside me is Sabatino Di Properzio, the owner of La Valentina, a young winery founded in 1990. La Valentina Spelt Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2006 is 100 percent Montepulciano, from 27-year-old vines in Spoltore. The wine is soft as velvet on the palate with nice acidity and notes of spice, oak and dark fruit. Also from La Valentina—produced in conjunction with my new acquaintance, Stefano Inama— is DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Binomio 2006. Produced in low yields from the fruit of 40 year-old-vines, this luscious wine is deep and dark in color, with gorgeous notes of dark fruit, chocolate, and tobacco. Seated opposite me is consulting winemaker, Franco Bernabei of Selvapiana. His Selvapiana Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina Riserva 2007 is 100 percent Sangiovese, made of vines dating to 1968. This complex Chianti offers aromas and flavors of cherry and spice, which linger on the finish. For dessert, a vintner at the adjoining table, Paolo Saracco offers us a glass of his Saracco Moscato D’Asti 2010. This 100 percent Moscato Bianco Canelli is effervescent with notes of peach and white flower. And on this sweet note, I depart this lovely luncheon with gracious invites to Italy from my newfound Italian friends.

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