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Italy’s staggering number of native grapes is both a joy and a frustration for students of Italian wine. At first, it can feel bewildering trying to navigate the near-countless varieties produced in the county. By most estimates, there are over 2,000 native varieties in Italy, with about 500 being used in commercial winemaking. Discovering a new grape, however, can be a source of great delight. Unlike so much of what’s on the market, the best Italian winemakers doesn’t feel the need to conform to global styles or rely on the handful of grapes that are internationally known. They are homespun wines made from the varieties that have existed in their regions for centuries. Such is the case with this delicious Nascetta from Anna Maria Abbona.
Nascetta is a grape you’ve likely never heard of, and that’s totally okay because only a handful of in the know producers make it. It comes from the Langhe in Piedmont, one of Italy’s most revered winegrowing areas. Abbona’s vineyards, which have been in her family since the days of her great-grandfather, are located in Dogliani, and she and her husband farm them organically. They specialize in Dolcetto, a dark-skinned red grape, but also make this rich, full-bodied white.
With a deep golden color, the Netta features aromas of stone fruit, citrus, and herbs. It also possesses the characteristic nuttiness you’ll find in many Northern Italian whites. This bottle is characterful enough to stand alongside roast chicken without being overpowered but could also be paired with fish or a winter salad of kale, pear, and almonds.