Brothers Claudio and Giancarlo Stefanoni
helm this third-generation estate near Lake
Garda. The massive mountain-rimmed lake
creates a microclimate that’s warmer and
more temperate than the rest of this northern
region; grapes have been grown here
since Etruscan times. The Stefanoni family
has been raising French varietals such as
Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon
for decades, in addition to native grapes, and
are part of a small cadre of producers bringing
international attention to Garda. For their
Ribo cuvee, the Stefanonis aged the wine in
neutral oak barrels (rather than new barrels),
a technique that softened Cabernet Sauvignon’s
considerable tannins without imparting
the vanilla, toast and tobacco notes that
come from aging in new wood. A portion of
Cabernet Franc adds an herbaceous note.
Aromas of olive, bell pepper and black peppercorns accent plum and blackberry
This Cabernet reflects the cooler latitudes of its origins with spicy black currant
and herb notes.
With its juicy acidity and fine-grained tannins, the Ricchi Ribo Cabernet is a
wine built for food. Juicy, rare red meats and sausages will be fantastic: the rich
counterbalance of fat and proteins will smooth the tannins in the Cabernet and
let the wine’s savory complexity stand out. Fresh green herbs are classic complements
to Cabernet’s inherently leafy note, and the portion of Cabernet Franc
makes them an especially good match here. Other accent ingredients that will
harmonize beautifully include earthy vegetables that add assertive flavor but
not much sweetness, such as olives, mushrooms, eggplant, fennel, onions and
garlic. For pairings, look to dishes like New York Strip Steak with Creamed Spinach;
Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin Roast; and Leg of Lamb with Lemon-Bay
Marinade (recipes at williams-sonoma.com).
Serve a little cooler than room temperature: refrigerate the bottle for 10 minutes
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