Curated by sommelier Charlie Gaeta Wine Director at Watertown Arsenal’s Branch Line.
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Charlie's wine program was the “Best of Boston” in 2017, according to Boston Magazine. His focus is on finding value in wines from the Mediterranean Circle. Gaeta’s list is a swoon-worthy deep-dive into traditional producers and native grapes from the southerly regions of France and Italy, and his curation is a nod to the best of the old school.
Girolamo Russo ‘a Rina’ Etna Rosso
Made from 100% Nerello Mascalese, arguably Etna’s most famous red variety. Gaeta loves this wine for its classic expression and versatility. A strong mineral backbone keeps the ripe red cherry and currant fruit in this vintage in check, and delicate wild herbal notes lend complexity. “It’s great for New World Pinot drinkers looking to get into Sicily,” Gaeta said. He suggests this as a pairing for roast chicken.
Deep, plummy roasted red fruit notes are soft on the nose and structured on the palate, and Negroamaro’s signature complexity comes through in lingering notes of savory licorice and tobacco. The wine is light on its feet, and Gaeta says to drink it “with everything.” What grows together goes together, so it’s particularly well-suited for everything eggplant, from a smoky baba ganoush to a heartier helping of eggplant parmesan.
Domaine Maestracci ‘E Prove’ Rouge
“It’s hard to drink good Corsican wine inexpensively,” Gaeta said, as the island is most famous for pricey bottles. But this is the exception. An immensely elegant wine that balances rich purple berry fruit with heady notes of sassafras, cedar, and wild herbs. Bold on the palate, but vibrant on the finish, with a slightly saline character. Drink this with “anything Mediterranean,” Gaeta says, like hearty pastas or roast salmon.
Clos La Coutale Cahors
As reputation dictates, this wine is inky in the glass. Blackcurrant, plum, and smoke on the nose open up on the palate, showing great depth of fruit and integrated tannin. It’s a robust, full-bodied, warming wine. Gaeta had the neo-bistros of Paris in mind when choosing this wine. He suggests pairing with anything stewed, braised, or “stick-to-your-ribs.” Try it with roasted lamb and braised greens, or duck confit—a Cahors specialty.