Binomio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Superiore DOC 2013, Italy
Cost: $19-21
D uring the Christmas season we often focus on pairing hearty cabernet sauvignon with a roast, or white wines with a turkey or pinot noir with ham. But Americans eat a lot of Chinese takeout during this time, and what do you pair with that?
There is no easy answer because of the mix of flavors in Chinese food and Asian food in general. There can be a lot of spice, or sweet sauces, and those flavors can clash with dry wines, so most recommendations are for sweeter wines or something a little spicy such as Gewurtztraminer. Sparkling wine also is a great choice.
The Binomio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is a great alternative if you like something a little drier. It has a lot of fruit in the flavor so it plays nicely off the spices in the Chinese food. It is not really a sweet wine, so dry wine drinkers will be happy.
Binomio Rosé.
Binomio Rosé.
The wine is a rosé, with a beautiful pomegranate or red cherry color in the glass. It even looks like a Christmas wine in its clear glass bottle.
It has a lively aroma, with hints of raspberry, pomegranate and red currents. On the palate it is lush and creamy with long-lasting red fruit flavors. I loved sipping it before dinner and loved it even more with food.
The Binomio vineyard in the Abruzzo region of Italy is planted with Montepulciano grapevines that are about 30 years old. The winery has produced a red wine called Montepulciano d’Abruzzo for years and recently added this rosé. The red sells for about $50 and is a blockbuster wine with intense aromas and powerful flavors.
The vines are defined as the “Africa-Binomio clone” that produces short-tailed bunches with small berries that resemble the shape of the African continent. They grow on the slopes of Majella mountain, swept by cool breezes coming from the Peligna Valley.
After hand-picking and de-stemming, the grapes are macerated for two days in vertical vats. After draining and refrigeration, the wine is fermented without skins in second- and third-use barriques. The wine spends about six months on the lees and is stirred every six weeks (a process called battonage).
The wine is racked into steel vats and left on its fine lees for another four months followed by filtering and bottling.
The result is a delightful wine at a good price. I would chill it slightly before serving.
Winery: Azienda Agricola Binomio started as a challenge in 1998. Fattoria La Valentina and Azienda Agricola Inama developed the project during the first two vintages of 1998 and 1999 with the goal of producing a great, structured yet modern Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
The operation grew in 2000 when the partners bought an exceptional vineyard in Località San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore. This old vineyard was planted in the 1970s facing south at an altitude of about 1,300 feet near the Majella National Park. It had had a rather troubled past and had gone through several hands before ending up as a lot in a legal auction. The vineyard had been known for its poor production and nobody else wanted it.
The vineyard was restored in 2009 and now produces first-rate grapes. The owners follow a hands-off approach, with little vine cultivation or weeding and few human interventions. The soil has natural humus so no fertilizers are used.
The Binomio wines are imported by Dalla Terra Winery Direct, an unusual importing model that keeps prices down by bypassing the national importer in the traditional three-tier system. Distributors buy directly from the producers and pass the savings along to us consumers.
Brian Larky formed Dalla Terra in 1990 to import some of the fine Italian wines he had experienced while working as a winemaker there. His team now works with about two dozen Italian wineries, bringing some of the finest wine in Italy to the United States at affordable prices.
This was a great wine for takeout Chinese food.
This was a great wine for takeout Chinese food.
Goes with: While getting ready for Christmas my family was too busy to cook one night so we decided to get takeout Chinese. I thought it would be a great challenge to find a wine that could go with all of our food choices.
Teri had sweet and sour shrimp, Michael had Szechuan shrimp and I had Kung Po chicken. We also had egg drop soup, fried dumplings and an egg roll.
The Binomio rosé caught my eye with its bright red color, so I thought we might try it. I wasn’t sure it would be the best pairing, but it turned out great. It pays to experiment with wine.
The full fruit flavor and freshness of the wine was perfect for the spices and sweet sauces that we had on the table. All three of us agreed the wine was great with our meals.
If you like a dry wine, this is a perfect wine for Asian takeout food.
The Bonomio rosé also would pair well with fish soups, grilled fish, pasta with tomato sauce, grilled lamb, ham or other cured meats.

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