A tutto pasto? | Food for thought at a tasting of Salvano wines from Piedmont

By Jim Boyce | It feels like Italian Wine Month here on Grape Wall, given an interview with Simone Incontro of VinItaly, a report on a 12-label, 12-region tasting at Italian wine bar Vesuvio and now this look at a Piedmont event held at Tao House. What struck me most about the latter occasion, featuring the brand Salvano, was how easily the wines, at least for me, divided into those that work with or without food.

Take the Fosco Dian0 d’Alba, made with Dolcetto grapes, a soft and easy-to-drink wine. (Diano d’Alba is the name of a town.) With supple dark fruit, a sense of sweetness and hints of earth that give it some complexity, I could imagine popping a bottle of this most anywhere. “A tutto pasto”, said export manager Francesco Davico, meaning “for every meal”, although this one seems fine on its own.

Contrast it to Langhe Dolcetto. (Langhe is an area in Piedmont.) Same grape but a much leaner and more acidic wine. This one has fresh red fruit, especially cherry, and the kind of tannins that made me start thinking what food it might best fit.

Then there’s Langhe Trabuch 2012, a powerful blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon that seems like an Italian appeal to global tastes. The nose has restrained red fruit, violets, earth and vanilla, while the plush body has ample fruit and a touch of vanilla. It’s well-balanced and, I think, would stand out for most people in a tasting like this. And like the Fosco, I think it can easily be enjoyed alone.

The Barbera D’Alba, on the other hand, also has a restrained fruit aroma but is sharper. This wine has an initial fruit sweetness, a tangy edge, a touch of woodsiness, and lots of tannins. As with Langhe Dolcetto, I wanted to take this to the dinner table.

Anyway, that’s just one person’s take, and it’s always fun to taste with such different characteristics.

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