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Hangover proof wine? Testing a wondrous Italian claim at an unforgettable Valentino dinner

Hangover proof wine? Testing a wondrous Italian claim at an unforgettable Valentino dinner | Wines and People |

Piero Selvaggio is famous for his wines — his cellar has been rated the best in America by Wine Spectator. Selvaggio brought Marco Scapagnini to introduce Domodimonti, a boutique winery from the tiny Italian region of Le Marche making its Texas debut.

Selvaggio is a legendary connoiseur of Italian wine, and said he was attracted to the brand in part because the story of the founder felt similar to his own. Both young Italian immigrants, Selvaggio found success at 26 in the restaurant industry, while the wine founder Dr. Francesco Bellini moved to Canada and developed the first anti-HIV compound drug ever sold.

Bellini returned to Le Marche after selling his pharmaceutical business and bought the winery, enlisting Carlo Ferrini, one of the world's top winemakers, to develop a wine that he could drink without an adverse reaction. The result is a half-dozen Domodimonti varietals, harvested using organic, sustainable methods and prepared using no acid adjustment, no added sugars, minimal sulfites and no other additives, what they call "natural" wines.

The result is said to be a wine that not only tastes great but won't give you a hangover. I particularly enjoyed the crisp sweetness of the passerino and the smooth, rich complexity of a Montepulciano/merlot blend humbly titled Il Messia — the messiah. I can only vouch for the no-hangover claim with my own limited experience, but after several glasses with dinner I woke up with a surprisingly clear head.

If this is the future of Italian food and wine, bring it on.

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Wines and People
The Le Marche region has a lot to offer to wine lovers and gourmets from the prestigious and famous Verdicchio, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba and Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, a first DOCG of the Region, to the Pecorino or Passerina, rediscovered wines that recently hit the headlines. Also the Rosso Conero and Rosso Conero Riserva DOCG wines, two great reds native to the vineyards of just seven municipalities in the Le Marche province of Ancona. The Le Marche where all these wines are found have mountains and hills gently sloping down to the coast, a great terroir, essential for the growth of great wines. In 2012, Le Marche produced 920,000 hl (10.2 million cases) of wine. There are 16 DOC and 5 DOCG wines, these spread throughout the Marche region, thus confirming the high level of quality reached by this wonderful regions wine production. Many of these wines are little known outside of Italy but visitors to the region have a pleasant surprise when they try the local wine produced by many small aziendas and cantinas.
Curated by Mariano Pallottini