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Rare Italian Dessert Wine from Lazio


2016 Castel de Paolis 'Muffa Nobile'

Italian dessert wines are some of the world’s very best, thanks to Italy's warm, sunny climate and long tradition of working with sweet wines. In virtually every region in the country, quality sweet wines are being produced, including Recioto della Valpolicella, Vin Santo del Chianti, Passito di Pantellaria and Piedmont's much-loved Brachetto d'Acqui.

In the hills southeast of Rome, Castel de Paolis is known for the high calibre of its wines as well as the historic relevance of the property — built on the ruins of a Roman villa from the late Middle Ages. In 1985, the Santarelli family teamed up with an agriculture professor from the University of Milan on an eight-year research project to assess the viability of a myriad of native and international grape varieties. The entire estate was eventually replanted accordingly, and a new modern winery was built in 1992, as well as a restaurant with a magnificent view of the entire city of Rome.

Castel de Paolis ‘Muffa Nobile’ is a dessert wine made from three white grapes, mostly Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, with a portion of the native Moscato Giallo grape for an Italian twist on a Sauternes style. This is a late harvest wine made with grapes completely affected by botrytis cinerea, known in Italy as ‘Muffa Nobile’. The fruit is left on the vine until the grapes are sufficiently dehydrated by the botrytis, increasing the concentration of sugars.

Bright gold in the glass, the wine is intensely fruity on the nose, with notes of apricot, dried fruit, honey and vanilla. Sweet and smooth with enough acid to retain elegance and persistence on the palate. An ideal match for ripe fruits and mature cheeses, as well as fruit pies and tarts. Today, we are pairing it with Executive Chef Nino Zoccali’s Croatian Blackberry Crumble, from his second cookbook, Venetian Republic

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