The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2016

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june 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  79 Old Techniques, New Style of Wine Moscato d'Asti DOCG relies on intense aromatics, a slight effervescence and a lower alcohol content to charm its consumers. In order to retain this freshness, the wine benefits from being consumed shortly after fermentation. As the grape harvest occurs just once per year, temper- ature-controlled holding tanks keep the grape juice from fermenting until so desired. With fermentation happening on demand, the wines are guaranteed to maintain a fresh aromatic profile. In addition, also in awareness of preserving the aro- matics, the secondary fermentation takes place via the Charmat, or tank, method, taking place in closed, pressur- ized tanks in order to harness the bubbles before being immediately bottled. As grape juice ferments, it converts the natural sugar into alcohol. By stopping the fermentation while some sugar still remains, the final alcohol content remains lower, and the wine is slightly sweet. The Riboli family applies each of these techniques to make the fresh, aromatic Stella Rosa wines. Another innovative technique practiced by Stella Rosa is adding complementary flavors to the already sweetly perfumed wine. The practice of adding flavors during fermentation allows the full integra- tion of green apple, vanilla and elderflower in Stella Rosa Platinum. Blackberry, blueberry and raspberry enhance Stella Rosa Black. A rosé version is in the works for the aluminum bottles as well, most likely incorporating strawberry and rose petal. Stella Rosa's wine production takes place in Piemonte, Italy, where the Riboli family has forged close relationships with winery partners. Native Piemontese varieties make up the base of Stella Rosa wines, Moscato being the primary variety for Stella Rosa Platinum and Brachetto for Stella Rosa Black. The launch of the aluminum bottles is in its early stages. They will hit the East Coast in the coming months and move into stores in California later this year. At 250 ml., the size of the bottle equates to a third of a standard bottle, an unusual size—and something else new from the Ribolis. When asked why that size, Riboli quips, "We like the way the bottle feels in your hand." It also makes the wine more attractive to restaurants or bars, for a by-the-glass option or for mixing it into cocktail creations. As it is frizzante, the bottles should not be open for too long or they start losing some of the sparkle. In a 250-ml. format, the smaller bottle can be used more quickly and cost-effectively. The bottle can also be resealed, which will preserve the carbonation. While introducing aluminum bottles as a practical and pleasing packaging option, the Ribolis are estab- lishing themselves as the pioneers of what is sure to be the next trend. A vessel that retains temperature and freshness while being a perfect portion size, these aluminum bottles may just take over at sporting and concert venues. Stella Rosa Black—slightly sweet, slightly sparkling, highly aromatic, low-alcohol red wine made in the style of Moscato d'Asti DOCG. Marketing Director Dante Colombatti sneaks a selfie with his cousin, winemaker Anthony Riboli, at Dodger Stadium, just hours before game time.

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