Szoke Irsai Olivér Mátra 2015
Country: HUNGARY/ Region: EGER / Appellation: MÁTRA / Varietal(s): IRSAI OLIVÉR --- Like viognier? Love intense aromatics? This wine is for you! An hour and a half northeast of Budapest, next to the renowned wine-growing region of Eger, the Mátra mountains have been planted with vineyards since at least the 11th century. The most prominent family-owned winery of the district is the Mátyás Szőke Winery in the town of Gyöngyöstarján. Ambassadors for Mátra winemaking, Szőke wines are served in Hungarian embassies and featured in many of the best restaurants in Budapest. Dry, but wonderfully fragrant, this is produced with a grape called irsai olivér, a native grape created in 1930 by crossing gewürztraminer and muscat ottonel (think pinot grigio but with more aromatics). Incredibly floral and perfumed, it finishes with a mineral, almost saline quality that balances out the aromatics. This perfectly complements dishes where fruit and salt play off each other (like prosciutto and melon, or Indian dishes with chutney), but also works brilliantly with sriracha-basted grilled chicken, fennel and spring onion quinoa, or alone as an aperitif!
Fratelli Antonio & Raimondo Barbera Piemonte DOC 2014
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: PIEDMONT DOC / Varietal(s): BARBERA --- This wine is named after the founding brothers (fratelli) Antonio and Raimondo Levis, who started the winery in 1938, using no chemical fertilizers in the vineyards, and rigorously picking and sorting by hand. A fresh take on barbera, fermented and matured in stainless steel, this is a perfect late spring red: clean and refreshing. Notes of black and red fruits (currants, elderberries, plum) are delicately accented by hints of spice and a touch of earth on the palate, making this a solid choice with grilled veggie tacos with cilantro pinto beans, or penne with ripe tomato purée.