Brachetto is an aromatic grape variety widespread in Piedmont, in particular in the Acqui Terme area and in various Municipalities in the Provinces of Alessandria and Asti.
A bit of History
According to the legend, the Brachetto vine originated in a small village in the Monferrato area of Asti, near Acqui Terme, which could definitely be Sessame.
It is said that the Roman Centurions stationing in the spa town greatly appreciated it, and that Queen Cleopatra used it to seduce Julius Caesar and Marcantonio.
In more recent times, the Piedmonts’ Scholar Giuseppe of Rovasenda stated in his 1877 “Essay on a Universal Ampelography” that “there are two distinct Brachetto: the aromatic Piedmonts’ one, and the Nizza Marittima’s one (the current French Braquet), with a simple flavour“, specifying however that “not all the grapes grown in the Asti area under the name of Brachetto are identical; but they are generally fragrant and aromatic“.
Two important ampelographers from Alessandria, Demaria and Leardi, stated in their works that Brachetto “gives the best quality of grapes of the Asti area for fruit or dessert wines” and “the grape has a fragrant flavour and a special aroma, with some analogies with Black Moscato“.
However, it is not easy to distinguish between true and false “Brachetto” among those mentioned several times in the Ampelographic Bulletins of the nineteenth century.
Attention: there is a vine of the same name in Roero (also called Birbet), which is actually a different vine.
The grape characteristics
The shape of this bunch, so important for our hills, is elongated, cylindrical-pyramidal, and rather squat; bunches are close and tight, with short peduncle. Berries are medium sized (about 13 / 14 mm diameter), with dark purplish black medium thick skin; the hoarfrost is abundant.
The pulp is dense with an abundant colourless juice. The flavour is aromatic, reminiscent of muscat and rose. There are usually 2 or 3 seeds per grape.
The grape is not very tannic, has a good acidity and a strong aromaticity; these characteristics make it particularly suitable for the elaboration of sparkling wines.
The Controlled Denomination of Origin
Wines produced with Brachetto grapes are typical and unmistakable. Let’s know them.
- Docg Brachetto d’Acqui Spumante, Tappo Raso and Passito
This sweet 100% Brachetto wine is the King of our Holidays, with a ruby red colour and a fine froth. It is sweet, aromatic, and intense, with hints of rose and strawberry. It is suitable to be savoured with chocolate desserts, dry pastries, even with cured meats or medium-aged cheese, like our Dop Robiola of Roccaverano. This DOCG was obtained in 1996.
The passito version is like a precious gem that perfectly matches chocolate desserts or fruit; it can also be appreciated as a meditation wine or as an accompaniment to savoury dishes, such as tagliolini with cuttlefish ink or courses seasoned with truffle.
- Docg Acqui Spumante Rosé Brut and Docg Acqui Rosé (still)
Spumante produced according to the Martinotti method, obtained from 100% Brachetto grape, with a beautiful antique pink colour and delicate aromas of rose and flowers. It is fresh, slightly sapid, and perfectly balanced. It is suitable for an entire meal, from appetizers to second courses. Perfect for aperitifs, seafood, or land appetisers, and seafood first and second courses. This type of Brachetto was introduced in the Production Disciplinary a few years ago only. The Acqui Rosé is also produced in a still version.
- Docg Acqui Rosso
Red and dry wine obtained from 100% Brachetto grape, with a light ruby red colour with purple reflections, it has spicy and floral notes on the nose. It is fresh and persistent in the mouth, with soft tannins.