When venturing to the Manaresi winery in the hills outside of Bologna, you will usually be welcomed by Fabio Bottonelli with a warm smile. He will happily show off their gorgeous vineyard sites overlooking the capital of Emilia-Romagna. You will eventually find Donatella, either tending to the vines on her beautiful hillsides, or precisely monitoring the secondary fermentation of her Pignoletto Frizzante in the cantina. Fabio is the outgoing face of the project, but his wife Donatella is the heart and soul of Manaresi. The winery itself is named after Donatella’s grandfather, a renowned local artist who spent his free time in these hills known as the Colli Bolognese. Donatella, a former architect, is the winemaker behind one of the area’s most fascinating sparkling wines, the Pignoletto Frizzante. Her hillsides have also been influenced by the French in the times of Napoleon, and have been a home to Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Merlot for nearly 200 years. There is art inside every bottle that they produce, as indicated by the “picture frame” that is the label of her frizzante wine. Much of the cantina showcases Paolo’s artwork and is an homage to his talent, but it is really Donatella who deserves the credit for her artistry at the helm of Manaresi.
What to Expect: Manaresi Pignoletto Frizzante $23 Perhaps what makes frizzante from Pignoletto most interesting is the ability for the grape to drink both as vibrant and textured. The wine is made with the charmat method (similar to Prosecco) but with a bit less “frizz,” made intentionally with a few less bubbles. Notes of pear, green apple, white flowers, and citrus will be followed by a comforting nutty notes on the finish. Donatella calls this wine “Prosecco’s nemesis,” but it is so much more than just that!
What to Expect: Manaresi ‘RED’ Cabernet Sauvignon $23 As mentioned before, Cabernet Sauvignon is practically “native” to these hillsides, having been farmed here since the early 19th century. The RED is meant to be a young and easy expression of Cab, aged mostly in steel to bring out the more food-friendly side of this grape. But don’t let that fool you, the hills of Bologna are quite warm, which brings out the classic dark cherry, blackcurrant and spice that most desire from Cabernet Sauvignon. – James Mucci.