Cembra Schiava

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Of all the thousands of wines to drink in the midwest there is nothing to compare with Schiava.

It’s a red wine, but so pale that it is actually lighter in color than some rosé wines. The usual reference point for sensually light reds is Beaujolais, but even that doesn’t include anything relatable to this. 2013 Cembra Schiava is very pale, slightly tart and dusted with decidedly ripe tannins however remote they are. Emanating from this broad and delicate framework are compelling botanical essences reminiscent of nutmeg, pepper, rhubarb and goji berries. The finish is entirely dry which makes it outrageously drinkable.

Cembra is a cooperative defined by its elevation, the highest of all Italian wines. Schiava has been documented in the region for 900 years, enough time apparently for selection pressure to produce a fruit uniquely adapted to its extreme location. One of its most productive clones – Schiava Grossa – migrated north through Germany where it became known as Trollinger, a corruption of the German word for Tyrolean, Tyrolinger. Cembra Schiava includes Schiava Grossa as well as Schiavas Gentile, Grigia, and Meranese.

Tom’s Wine Line suggests serving it with Speck (See the Bismarck.)

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