Winemakers across Europe have worked to save indigenous grape varieties from extinction, often bringing them back from a few surviving vines. Here are four to try.
Illustration © Alex Nabaum
In the late 1970s, winemaker Vangelis Gerovassiliou of Greece helped rescue this silky variety from one remaining vine. Now, wineries around the country make wines with it. Bottle to Try: 2011 Zafeirakis Malagousia ($16)
Native to Italy’s Piedmont region, citrusy Nascetta was virtually gone when winemaker Valter Fissore of Elvio Cogno first started experimenting with it in the mid-1990s. Bottle to Try: 2011 Elvio Cogno Anas-Cëtta ($33)
Only a few hundred vines of this crisp, minerally white variety were left when Spanish vintners revived it; now there are more than 3,000 acres. Bottle to Try: 2011 Gaba do Xil Godello ($17)
A full-bodied white variety, Pecorino was thought to be extinct when a few final vines were found in the 1980s. Now it’s grown in much of central Italy. Bottle to Try: 2011 Velenosi Villa Angela ($15)
Related: More from F&W's May Issue: 5 Promising New Wine Regions
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Before launching their much-anticipated new Manhattan restaurant, Charlie Bird, sommelier Robert Bohr and chef Ryan Hardy organized a wine tasting and dinner centered around a fantastic roast chicken recipe. Here, Bohr and his sommelier wife Jordan Salcito offer their favorite pairings.
2007 Bellus Girasole ($28)
Bohr loves its leafy, herbal notes.
2008 Fattorie Romeo del Castello Vigo Etna Rosso ($46)
Volcanic soil gives this red a firm acidity.
2010 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara ($46)
An intense white blend from Umbria.
2011 Venica & Venica Malvasia ($27)
A zesty, tart white from Italy’s Friuli region.
2010 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Rusticum ($29)
A dense white from a convent in Lazio.
2011 Arianna Occhipinti SP68 ($40)
A vivid, slightly wild blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato from Sicily.
Read More: An Italian Wine-Pairing Summit
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In F&W's April issue, guest editor Mario Batali teaches Jimmy Fallon how to make pasta, braise meat and stuff calzones. Here, the superchef recommends what wines to drink when the cooking is done.
2009 Contadi Castaldi
Pair with: Mini Calzones, Crab Salad with Mint Oil
“I love not-too-pricey sparkling wines, especially in spring.”
2010 St. Michael-Eppan Lagrein
Pair with: Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage
“A juicy red for spicy pasta.”
2008 Au Bon Climat Nuits-Blanches au Bouge Chardonnay
Pair with: Osso Buco with Horseradish Gremolata (photo)
“I’m breaking all the rules here, pairing meat with white wine.”
2012 Giacomo Bologna Braida Brachetto D’Acqui
Pair with: Balsamic Strawberries
“A strawberry dessert makes me think berry-colored wine.”
Related: Mario Batali's Full Cooking Lesson
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Biondivino, San Francisco
The Russian Hill shop hosts frequent winemaker tastings and sells hard-to-find varietals and bottlings. biondivino.com.
Italian Wine Merchants, NYC
Specializes in rare, high-end wines and cellar management for collectors. italianwinemerchants.com.
This shop has an impressive selection of half-bottles. delaurenti.com.
Wine Expo, Santa Monica, CA
This store and wine bar focuses on Italian and sparkling wines, especially inexpensive bottles. wineexpo.com.
Related: Italian Value Wines
An Italian Wine-Pairing Summit