When guests scan the wine lists at New York’s A Voce restaurants, they often gravitate toward two regions, Tuscany and Piedmont. If guests tell me that they’re looking for a great Italian wine at a value, I always suggest they explore wines from the other 18 regions of Italy. Diners can find beautiful, value-driven wines for between $8 and $13 per glass on most restaurant wine lists if they look to emerging wine regions. While navigating the wine list at your next dinner, keep in mind the following:
• Examine lesser-known wine regions. A few of my favorites include Sicily, Sardinia, Puglia and Basilicata.
• Know the good vintage years. When searching Italian wines, 2004, 2006 and 2008 were exceptional vintages: Each had very good springs, not overly hot summers, cool temperatures and no rain three weeks prior to harvest. That said, technology these days, as opposed to 100 years ago, allows producers to get through bad weather relatively unscathed.
• Take note of local grapes. Puglia’s local red grape, Negroamaro, for example, is considered “king,” making robust reds and fragrant rosati, especially in the south. While Aglianico is the celebrity grape of the Basilicata region, there are some pleasant examples of Moscato and some superb Malvasia, the best coming from the Vulture zone.
• Remember top producers. Come to the restaurant armed with the names of some of the top producers in each lesser-known region. For my 15 top picks in these four regions, visit www.winemag.com/flosse.
As the corporate wine and beverage director for the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC) U.S., Flosse is responsible for the award-winning wine collection at A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus in New York City, in addition to the wine programs at Morello Bistro in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Bistro du Midi in Boston.