Brachetto is a delicate red wine grape grown predominantly in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, where it has been cultivated and used in the production of a range of wines for centuries. The grapes usually hold delicate flavors of summer berries, most notably strawberries, and are used to make light bodied, extremely drinkable wines perfect for hot sunny days. Their thin skins mean that they are usually low in tannins, which results in a silky smooth, mild red wine. Because of their lightness and fresh, summery flavors, they are also used to make excellent sparkling wines, similar to a Lambrusco. They are a highly aromatic grape varietal, and in recent decades they have started to be planted in many New World countries with similar climatic conditions to their native Italy.
The region of Piedmont in the cool, breezy north-western part of Italy is renowned throughout the world for high quality, flavorful and delicious red wines, and for the elegant and refined sparkling wines such as Asti which typify the area. The region is located at the foothills of the Alps, close to the French and Swiss borders, and benefits from some interesting micro-climates formed by its proximity to the mountain range. The key grapes for the fine red wines of Piedmont are Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera â€“ all powerful varietals which are packed full of a range of fruit flavors and which have an affinity for oak making them ideal for aging When it comes to the sparkling Asti, wineries cultivate plenty of Moscato grapes, whose relative transparency make them ideal for expressing their terroir and providing some interesting flavors in the bottle.
For several decades in the mid to late twentieth century, Italy's reputation for quality wines took a fairly serious blow. This was brought about partly due to lack of regulation in certain regions, and too much regulation in others. This led to several wineries in the beautiful and highly fertile region of Tuscany making the bold move to work outside of the law, which they saw as responsible for the drop in quality in Tuscan wines. They believed that they had the expertise and the generations of experience necessary with which to make truly excellent, world class wines, and set about doing just that. These 'Super Tuscans', as they came to be known, quickly inspired the rest of Italy to improve their produce, and now, Italian wine producers in the twenty-first century are widely recognised to be amongst the best in the world. Regulation and law began to change, and wine drinkers across the globe woke up to the outstanding wines coming out of Italy, which are continuing to improve and impress to this day.