To help draw out the juice of the strawberries in my Strawberry-Amaretti Crumble, I macerate them in Brachetto d’Acqui, a lightly sweet, low alcohol wine from Piemonte. Even if you generally don’t like wine on the sweeter side, there’s a good chance you’ll dig Brachetto. It’s the gateway dessert wine. It starts with a gorgeous nose of ripe strawberries, and virtually bursts on the palate with juicy cherry and berries and violets, but has great acidity and structure to balance things out. It’s often served as an aperitivo, but I happen to think it is the most perfect wine for fruit or chocolate desserts. I’m partial to the Marenco ‘Pineto’ bottling – it was the go-to dessert pairing at my restaurant, Ottimista, back in the day. I also had the honor of visiting the three lovely Marenco sisters at their vineyard a few years back. I was in Italy for VinItaly, the big Italian wine fair held every year in Verona, and afterwards I spent a week in Piemonte visiting producers with one of my importers. These visits are always eye-opening. When you meet the people behind the wines, and see the vineyards, and experience the culture surrounding it all, you really get the wine and want to be an ambassador for it. I fell deeply for Brachetto on this trip, and to this day I’m still spreading the love.
If you can’t find the Marenco, you’re safe trying whatever bottle you can get your hands on. The quality among Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG is pretty consistent. If you have trouble finding Brachetto in your area, send me a message and I’ll help direct you. Sante!