Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES October 26th

France vs. Italy and Global Finds

By Sara d’Amato with notes from John Szabo and David Lawrason

France and Italy go head to head in this week’s VINTAGES release, a somewhat inane premise but it does give a chance to highlight a few prominent regions. The stark differences between climate, varieties planted, and stylistic approaches do not go unnoticed but there are similarities to be drawn as well. An example would be the appropriation in both Bordeaux and Tuscany of varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot which hold historic significance in both regions. The Ligurian coast is an extension of France’s famed Riviera and although less ostentatious and hillier, it is likewise influenced both by the Mediterranean and the Alps.

Although political tensions between France and Italy over the past two centuries have been at times strained and, at others, collaborative, if you reach back far enough, the Italians were responsible for the advent of wine culture in France. As we know, the French ran with it and have established global benchmarks for the world’s most prominently grown “vitis vinifera” varieties, the European genus of grape vines. The Phonecian’s of Greece are widely accepted as the proliferators of grape vines and wine throughout the Mediterranean, in particular in Italy in the 8th century B.C. Once the Etruscans became a powerful merchant culture of their own, they began bringing their wine to Provence and southern France as early as 425 B.C. Thus, began an over 2,000-year-old wine culture that later spread to such northerly locales as the Loire Valley and Champagne. Further improvements with respect to the delimitations of regions and quality of the wine were brought about by the French monasteries of the Middle Ages, setting the stage for global reverence and dominion of French wine.

Proust QuestionnaireJohn Szabo and I have also decided to go head to head with the theme of France vs. Italy. In order to keep this debate entertaining, I have adapted the “Proust Questionnaire” to both French and Italian wine thematics. To find out exactly what a “Proust Questionnaire” is, and glimpse into our psyche via our insightful answers, check out: John’s Italian Revelations and Sara’s French Confessions.

Our top picks in this rivalrous VINTAGES theme are as follows:

La Vite Lucente 2017 

Buyer’s Guide October 26th: France

Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne, France $87.95
Sara d’Amato – The house of Bollinger has developed a formidable reputation since its inception in 1829 and is known for its distinctively pronounced, pinot noir dominant Champagnes. The Special Cuvée is Bollinger’s flagship offering and showcases this mouth filling, vibrant style. This incarnation exhibits a toasty, leesy nose that is notably generous. Nervy with a significant acidic backbone and a silky, mouth filling mousse.

Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne

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I hope these selections prove comforting as the bite of autumn enters the picture. We will be back with more recommendations next week from beyond VINTAGES.


Sara d’Amato

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.
John’s Top Picks
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommeliers Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview