This Largely Unknown Wine Grape Produces an Underrated Red

Your Surprise Wine Find

BY // 02.03.20

Have you ever heard of Rebo? If not, don’t worry, because you are not alone. Rebo is a grape that was created in Trentino, a province in Italy’s far north (recall the Council of Trent from your history class?), a cross between Teroldego and Merlot named after Rebo Rigotti. Rigotti (1891-1971) was a researcher at the Experimental Station of San Michele all’Adige — and he created Rebo in 1920.

I tell you this because the grape constitutes 40 percent of a wine I tasted recently, the 2017 Mille1 Garda Rosso DOC. The other grapes here are Corvina (40 percent) and Merlot (20 percent). This bottle costs around $20, and it is one of the most satisfying wines I’ve drunk recently.

Mille1 refers to the the 1,001 miles that comprise the length of Italy, from one end to the other, and the Merlot in the wine gets the appassimento treatment, meaning that the grapes are allowed to wither and dry, in this case for 25 to 30 days. The process results in the concentration of sugars and flavors and, here, produces a full-bodied wine that is perfect for almost any occasion. (I paired it with hot Italian sausage made in New York, but pizza, barbecue, charcuterie and hamburgers would also be inspired mates.)

The Pratello winery has belonged to the Bertola family for centuries. (Courtesy Dalla Terra)

Mille1 is a project of the Pratello winery, which has been owned by the Bertola family for centuries. The winery is certified organic, and the family farms on 160 acres on the estate.

In the glass, Mille1 shimmers a ruby red, an inviting shade. You’ll sense dark berries and woodsy floral aromas, notes that are pronounced yet soft. Open this on a cool afternoon under a shade tree, pour immediately, swirl the wine in your glass and savor. Then taste.

Wait a few more minutes, and raspberries come to your taste buds and brain. As I said, this is an enjoyable wine.

The vineyards that produce Mille1 lie near Lake Garda, and the wine’s maceration and fermentation take place in stainless steel. It then aged for six months in 500-liter French oak vessels. Alcohol is 14 percent. Drink this now, with friends and good food.

Look for it at your favorite wine merchant, or here, where it is selling it for $16.97.

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