Photograph by Carly Hebert
Boniperti Colline Novaresi Vespolina 2011
The vinous soul of Italy’s Piemonte region is the noble nebbiolo grape, which yields wines that become more profound with extended bottle age. However, a number of Piemontese growers embrace somewhat less magnificent grapes that are grown for short-term satisfaction: simple beauties such as pelaverga and grignolino as well as the varied relatives of nebbiolo, like rustic freisa and vespolina. Vespolina shares nebbiolo’s DNA but not the pricey finesse, so it’s great on the nights you and your purse are taking it easy.
Boniperti’s is a rare varietal bottling of vespolina. It’s a full-bodied hayseed of a wine, fermented and aged in stainless steel. While a little fleshy, it’s not chunky, brimming with the seductive flavors of plums and resinous herbs.
Food pairing: Merguez sausage from McCall’s Meat & Fish Company in Los Feliz.
Available at: The Wine House, 2311 Cotner Ave., West L.A.; $18.
Lou Amdur is a wine expert based in L.A.