Sensational Sips, Part I

A pretty-in-pink gin.
A pretty-in-pink gin.

Malfy Gin Rosa

Have you ever spied a pink gin before? Me, either. At least not before receiving a sample bottle of Malfy Gin Rosa, an Italian gin that’s tinged a very pale pink from grapefruit.

Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, this gin gets a subtle citrus and bitter pith edge from Sicilian pink grapefruit, along with lemon. Juniper berries add characteristic pine and almost anise-like notes without veering into medicinal-tasting territory.

Just know, though, that because the color is so light, it won’t be visible once you add any kind of mixer.

A 750ml bottle is $24.99 at Total Wine & More.

Cheers: Showcase this spirit in a classic gin & tonic. Just follow the proportions on the Malfy site by stirring together 50ml Malfy Gin Rosa, and 150ml Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic. Add ice, and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and a grapefruit wheel or slice. Herbaceous and slightly bitter, it’s like a cool breeze on a balmy day.

Bread & Butter Prosecco

For an affordable bubbly, reach for Italian Prosecco.
For an affordable bubbly, reach for Italian Prosecco.

For bubbly that’s festive but doesn’t break the bank, Italian Prosecco is an ideal choice.

Napa’s Bread & Butter Prosecco, of which I received a sample, is a blend of Italian Glera (the Prosecco grape), Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes. It’s made in a small town near Venice at a 90-year-old, family-owned winery.

With soft bubbles, it tastes of apple, pear, apricot, and a pinch of cardamom. And at $16 a bottle, you don’t even have to think twice. In fact, it’s part of Bread & Butter’s “Everyday Wines” collection, designed to be easy to acquire and easy to drink.

Find the Prosecco at New Leaf Community Market, Total Wines & More, and Sam’s Club.

Cheers: Uncork a bottle and discover its versatility alongside a charcuterie board, ham and cheese sandos, roast chicken, Indian butter chicken, prosciutto-topped pizza, risotto, or goat cheese salad.

2022 Saldo Falanghina

The Prisoner Wine Company of St. Helena is nothing if not provocative. A winery whose name was inspired by a Francisco Goya etching of a prisoner in chains, it may have gone too far when it later faced backlash for its wine labels and wine names that seemed to make light of incarceration. It has since taken steps to reform that image by playing down the more risque double entendres and by advocating for prisoner reforms.

In 2022, it debuted a limited-edition red blend, Corrections. That wine, which just had its second release this year, allocates 5 percent of sales to The Center for Art & Advocacy, an organization that supports formerly incarcerated artists such as Jesse Krimes, a Philadelphia-based artist who designed the label on the newest blend.

The 2022 Saldo Falanghina.
The 2022 Saldo Falanghina.

The winery also can sometimes be guilty of bluster, as when its web site claims its Zinfandel or Red Blend are largely responsible for reinvigorating interest in that varietal or type of blend, claims I’m sure other Napa Valley winemakers would take issue with.

There’s no denying, however, that it does make some interesting wines. Case in point: the 2022 Falanghina, produced under the Prisoner’s Saldo label, which concentrates on overlooked varietals.

Falanghina is an ancient Italian white grape that was once almost abandoned, but is now grown abundantly in Campagnia. The ones for this particular wine were grown in California’s Central Valley.

The bottle for this wine gives it the appearance of an experiment, what with its winery label that looks like it was made with a portable label maker and a torn piece of masking tape with the grape varietal written in black marker.

Light gold in color, this wine sports a green, leafy aroma on the nose. With a medium body and pleasant acidity, it has notes of green bell pepper and lemon peel, along with a finish of parsley.

Artichokes and asparagus are notoriously difficult to pair with wines, but this Falanghina would stand up to both.

Cheers: Although I was fortunate enough to receive a sample of this wine ($32), it’s actually limited to wine club members. However, if you visit the Saldo tasting room in St. Helena, which opened this past fall, you can taste all the Saldo wines, including this one.

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *