This week Gabriele and I attended a wine dinner at River Bend Bistro, a favorite neighborhood spot. The featured wines were from Crivelli, a producer specializing in lesser known varietals from Monferrato, in the Piedmont region of Italy.
Crivelli wines are distributed by Downey Selections, and owner Brennan Downey sat with us for dinner. Downey Selections is a family owned business, and Brennan grew up surrounded by wine culture and has spent extensive time learning his craft in Europe. His enthusiasm and knowledge were obvious, and being able to converse with him over dinner really added to our evening.
River Bend did a nice job matching food and wine courses. Our favorites were the white truffle risotto and the braised lamb with rosemary gnocchi. There were five wines poured:
2014 La Slina Gavi -Cortese grape, thought it was very Sauvignon Blanc like, crisp and bright with a clean finish.
2013 Crivelli Grignolino – very light colored but flavorful red. Brennan told us Grignolino is an ancient grape that contains a lot of seeds in it, giving the wine a surprising tanninic quality despite being so light in color and body. Definitely pops on the palate, and is often chilled in summer.
2013 Crivelli Barbera – from Asti, this was the winner of the evening for us. It was a medium bodied wine that felt very integrated on the palate, flavorful cherry fruit and a nice finish. We tend to like Barbera and this was a good one.
2013 Crivelli Ruche – this is the wine that Crivelli is most known for. It’s a very obscure grape that Brennan told us almost became extinct 25 years ago. It has an unusually floral nose, with hints of licorice and spice. A very interesting wine and we liked it, but not as much as the Barbera.
2014 Vietti Moscato – nice finish to the meal, frizzante, fruity but not syrupy at all, very low alcohol and clean finish.
It was a very enjoyable evening, and we hope to stay in touch with Brennan. Downey Selections is located in Lorton, VA and we hope to discover more Old World wines Brennan imports and distributes.
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