Brachetto d’ Acqui

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Brachetto d’Acqui is a frizzante (semi-sparkling) sweet ruby red wine from Piedmont, Italy that’s known for its candied and floral aromatics. Brachetto is the grape, and the wine, Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG, is produced exclusively in Piedmont, Italy. Acqui is the sub-region.

It falls into the category of a sparkling wine, even though some categorize it as a dessert wine.

The primary flavors of are candied strawberries, raspberries, orange zest, black currant, apricot, and cream.

The taste profile is sweet in style, and it is medium to light in body with no tannins and medium acidity.

Serve it at 55-60 F – no need to decant and no special glass is needed.

Related: Brunello di Montalcino: A Basic Wine Guide

Wine Description

Color

Brachetto d’acqui has an appealing bright red color and can even have some purple highlights.  Its color can also be described as a festive cranberry.

Brachetto d' acqui has a bright red color that is reminiscent of cranberries
Photo credit to Lachlan Hardy

Nose

The nose is aromatic with hints of raspberries, strawberries, and fresh rose petals. Delicate and fragrant, hints of moss counteract the smell of roses for an interesting range of aromas.

Taste

The taste profile is sweet in style with tons of berry and even candied flavors. Its light body lends itself to a delicate mouthfeel, and there are no tannins present whatsoever. It’s also low in alcohol, so there should be no sugar or alcohol hangover to deal with. It has medium acidity, and it’s under 10% ABV.

Grapes

The word Brachetto is actually the grape variety from Piedmont, Italy. At one time, the grape was thought to be related to the French grape Braquet, but it is not.

The grape is used to make not only red wines but rosé and, of course, sparkling (or frizzante) wine.

The identifying factor is its clear, distinct strawberry quality from tits aromatic nose to its light-bodied flavor.

Any bottle labeled “Brachetto” must be, according to Italian law, at least 85% Brachetto.

Wines made from the grapes grown outside the legally defined appellation zone’s limits are often called “Birbet” which means “The Little Rogue”.

A bunch of brachetto grapes hanging on the vine ready to be harvested

Region

Piedmont is considered to be a top grape-growing region in Italy (like Tuscany).

Piedmont (Piemonte) is very popular with the locals in the Po River Valley. This area is home to one-third of the population in Italy!

Piedmont produces 65% red wine and 35% white wine. The Brachetto grape is one of Piedmont’s most delightfully fruity and sweet grapes. There is a Brachetto d’acqui DOCG and Piemonte Brachetto DOC.

What is a DOCG? A DOCG is the highest quality designation – higher than any other region. Out of Italy’s 20 major grape-growing regions, Piedmont ranks 6th in highest production volume. It is one of Italy’s most acclaimed regions!

The hills of piedmonte showing why they are great areas to grow brachetto grapes.

Process

The grapes are harvested in late August and early September. After crushing, the juice or “must” soaks with the grape skins to impart the desired light ruby red color to the juice. After fermentation in stainless steel vats, it typically is aged in bottles for approximately three months prior to release for sale.

The wine is very lively with spritzy bubbles. This is achieved by using the “charmat method,” a low CO2 level and offering between 1 and 2.5 bars of pressure at 20 C, so it is only very lightly sparkling – also known as frizzante.

As the grape juice ferments, grape sugar is converted into alcohol. It is made sweet by stopping the fermentation a little early, leaving a touch of grape sugar behind.

Food Pairings

Because it’s low in alcohol, it makes for an appealing aperitif as well as a dessert wine. You can splash some of it over fresh strawberries for a light pairing and over vanilla ice cream for a delightful dessert.

Brachetto is also a perfect match with rich, creamy chocolate desserts like ganache and mousse. Try it with berry tarts and strawberry ice cream!

Strawberry and brachetto make a great combination with the frizzante and sweetness of the wine.

Try It Out

Top Picks

2019 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui is sweet, lush, and smooth with a delicate taste. It concludes with a long aromatic finish.

Castello Banfi is a family-owned vineyard estate and winery located in the Brunello region of Tuscany.

This award-winning estate was founded on the philosophy of blending tradition with innovation, and is recognized as a pioneer in elevating the standards of Italian winemaking.

2019 Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui: Delicate ruby red, sweet and sparkling with fine bead, it expresses the elegant aromas of roses and raspberries, typical of the Brachetto grape. Aromatic, delicate and harmonious on the palate. Perfect with strawberries, red fruit, fruit salad, all kinds of desserts or just great to relax with any time. Ideal in the preparation of cocktails and refreshing, thirst-quenching drinks.

The Marenco family has been a small producer since 19886 with the ability to translate enology and terroir to generations.

Giuseppe Marenco brought a modern approach to Marenco’s winemaking in the 1950’s, expanding their efforts from grape cultivation and sale to the complete production of wines that reflected the terroir of the Monferrato hills.

Top Values

Braida: This brand is best drunk young and is described as an explosion of pure fruit and freshness! At the winery Braida, the courage of the young generation is combined with firmly rooted generations.

Raffaella and Giuseppe Bologne, both oenologists, are the third “Braida” generation and are united by the initial dream and history of the winery.

Braida has a great balue brachetto d' acqui
Photo credit to lu_lu

Costa Ermanno:   This family winery is still today a family farm; they feel this protects the craftsmanship of the wine. They are convinced that quality has its origin in the vine and not in the cellar!

In other words, the quality of the grapes begins and ends with the practices in the vineyard.

Glassware

Matching glassware to your wine can often improve the flavor! While it can be served in any universal glass, here are some tips to enhance your overall enjoyment.

Brachetto does wonderfully in white wine glasses to show off their delicate fruit aromatics
White wine set available on Amazon

Flute Glasses: Flute glasses can be great at preserving bubble finesse in this semi-sparkling wine

White Wine Glass: The floral aromas of this wine will be highlighted with a white wine glass. While this glass is not suitable for red wines, it’s great for the delicate fruit aromatics in this wine.

Burgundy Wine Glass: This glass style does wonders for red wine, but unfortunately, it will make this particular wine flat.

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Susan Connolly

Susan is a sommelier that wears many hats. She is a wine consultant, writer, instructor, and even has her own online course! Her love for it spills out in her knowledge about in all things related to the topic!

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