Do you know Brachetto d’Acqui? Have you ever tasted it?
After “unknown” Monferrato, I’m back to tell you about my region: Piedmont.
Most people see Brachetto d’Acqui as a cheap red wine but it’s not, and I’ll tell you why.
We can’t even compare it to top wines like Barolo or Barbaresco. They have different styles!
It’s like a comparing Prosecco and Champagne. It’s wrong! To the untrained eye, the common thing is bubbles. However, when you taste both, you’ll have a different sensation and you can understand that the bubbles of Prosecco are very different from those of Champagne. Because the styles are different. The method to produce Prosecco is not the same as Champagne, and so the consumers of Champagne are not the same as those of Prosecco.
But we’re not here to talk about Prosecco vs. Champagne. It was only an example to demonstrate that Brachetto d’Acqui has a category in the world of wine.
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to discover this wine with the Consortium. I didn’t know that Brachetto d’Acqui has several styles.
Now I’ll tell you all that I know about this wine.
Are you ready? Let’s start!
The Brachetto grape
When you have a bottle of wine, you have to think that it all started from a terrain with a vineyard. The work of winemakers is very important! They invest years to produce a bottle of wine while we invest minutes to consume it.
Brachetto d’Acqui is produced from the Brachetto grape, indigenous to Piedmont. Its origins are uncertain and the first information dates back only to the 19th century.
A bunch of this grape has a medium size just like the berries, its skin is black and it ripens early. Its fragrance is very potent. It’s usually grown by the Guyot training system on marly-calcareous soils with clay. Brachetto is not generally blended with other grape varieties.
It produces wines with light body and slight tannins. Its alcohol is low.
Outside Italy, Brachetto is grown in Australia and in California. Some studies and research affirm a relationship with the Braquet grape, grown in Southern France.
It was founded in 1992 in Acqui Terme and has 60 members, both wineries and cooperatives.
The aim was to control and regulate the plantation of the Brachetto grape with the important assignment of representing the interests of the territory of origin, Brachetto producers and the end consumer.
Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG
The DOCG was recognized in 1996.
Brachetto is grown in 28 districts, located between Acqui Terme and Nizza Monferrato.
The climate is continental with Mediterranean and Alpine influences. Cool winters, hot summers, and mild springs/autumns. The last years has been very different for rainfall. A drought in 2017 and high rainfall in the summer of 2018. 2019 has started with some snow. I’m curious to see the evolution of this vintage.
The soils present different characteristics. You can find white lands with limestone that allow the production of elegant and fine wines, or red lands that enhance body, alcohol, and color, otherwise sandy lands for light and fragrant wines.
There are three styles of Brachetto d’Acqui.
This is the most familiar. The color is medium ruby and can have some purple highlights. On the nose, the bouquet is very delicate and fragrant with the aromas of rose, strawberry, raspberry, and moss. The taste is sweet, soft, and pervasive. At least 5% ABV. It can be lightly fizzy because of the development of carbon dioxide during fermentation (max 2.5 bar).
It has several things in common with the red style, such as the color and the aromas. It’s produced by the tank method (Charmat or Martinotti). Its mousse is creamy. At least 6% ABV. The range can be from Extra Brut to Sweet.
The grapes are dried before the pressing. Its color is medium ruby with garnet highlights. The aromas are similar to those of the red style but can have some oak notes. The taste is delicate and sweet. At least 11% ABV and the minimal residual of sugar of 50 g/L.
This wine is not suitable for ageing. Age it for 2 years max. The serving temperature should be around 8/10° C for the sparkling and red versions, and 10/12° C for the passito.
Brachetto d’Acqui is a wine to drink with family and friends. It’s a wine that makes people happy!
Its most common pairing is with desserts, cakes, and patisserie. The sparkling version is better with custard tarts. The passito dark chocolate combo is outstanding!
It could also be interesting as an aperitif, maybe with cold cuts and cheeses. I combined the sparkling version with tartare and it was very delicious.
Brachetto is a wine that you can even combine with fruits such as strawberries or peaches, unlike most other wines.
Another interesting implementation of Brachetto d’Acqui is in cocktails and long drinks.
What’s your favorite style of Brachetto d’Acqui?
Now you know how interesting an underrated grape like Brachetto could be.
Several people ask me why I plunged into the wine trade. The answer is always the same. Wine is fascinating and you never stop learning! There will always be a wine that you haven’t tasted or a region that you haven’t seen.
I’m very curious to know which style of Brachetto d’Acqui you would like to try. Let me know by leaving a comment.
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