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Wine & Spirits

Selecting just the right aperitivo

October 26, 2005|Leslie Brenner

Vermouth, bitters and beers

Sweet red Martini & Rossi, Punt e Mes, and Cinzano vermouths are widely available, as is Campari. Sweet white Cinzano Bianco and Italian beers such as Menabrea, Messina, Birra Moretti, Birra Moretti La Rossa Dark and Peroni are available at Beverages & More (www.bevmo.com) and Italian markets such as Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica, (310) 395-8279; Domingo's Italian Foods in Encino, (818) 981-4466; and Claro's Italian markets, www.claros.com. Claro's markets are in San Gabriel, (626) 288-2026; Arcadia, (626) 446-0275; La Habra, (562) 690-2844; Tustin, (714) 832-3081; Upland, (909) 946-2689; and West Covina, (626) 918-8818.

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Wines

In Piedmont, light, aromatic Moscato d'Asti is the sparkling wine of choice; elsewhere in Italy it's Prosecco. For white wine, Arneis is a popular aperitivo wines; so is Cortese, but that's difficult to find in L.A. wine shops. Easy to find, easy to drink Dolcetto and Barbera both make great aperitivi. Wine Expo in Santa Monica specializes in Italian wine and has a huge selection.

Here are a few recommended selections:

2004 Rivetti La Spinetta Moscato d'Asti. Frothy and light, with pretty jasmine and lychee aromas. Available at Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463; and Wine Country in Signal Hill, (562) 597-8303, about $18.

2004 Il Falchetto Langhe Arneis. Well-balanced, with restrained pear flavors. Available at Wine Expo, (310) 828-4428, $17.

2004 Brovia Roero Arneis. Herbal, earthy and complex. Available at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, $18.

2004 Andrea Oberto Dolcetto d'Alba. Delicious, deeply flavored, earthy and dry, with berry notes and some complexity. A great value. Available at Silverlake Wine in L.A., (323) 662-9024; and Wine House in L.A., (310) 479-3731, about $15.

2003 Cascina Fonda Dolcetto d'Alba Brusalino. Light, simple and drinkable. Available at Wine Expo, about $15.

2004 Il Falchetto Dolcetto d'Alba Souli Braida. Bright and full, a great food wine. Available at Wine Expo, $17.

2003 Ideale La Nunsio Barbera d'Asti. Big and nicely brash, excellent value. Available at Wine Expo, $11.

2003 Giacomo Borgogno and Figli Barbera d'Alba. Luscious and round, with terrific fruit. Available at Mission Wines; and Fireside Cellars in Santa Monica, (310) 393-2888, about $25.

2003 Il Falchetto Barbera d'Asti Pian Scorrone. Compelling blueberry aromas, with harmonious flavors; great go-with-everything food wine. Available at Wine Expo, $16.

2002 Parusso Barbera d'Alba Ornati. Gorgeous plum and herbal aromas, well-balanced, complex, absolutely delicious. Available at Wine House, $26.

-- Leslie Brenner

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