Mille1 Garda Rosso DOC 2017, Italy
Cost: $19-21
S ometimes on a cold, wintery day, nothing warms me up like a glass of red wine. I like heartier reds in the winner, but even a medium-bodied red does the trick.
The Mille1 Garda Rosso DOC 2017 ($19-21) works great with heartier winter meals, but it is light and fresh enough to pair with lighter summer meals. This is a red wine you can drink year around.
The interesting name and label refer to the 1,001 miles from one tip of Italy to the other, “Mille1” means 1,001. There is a little red car on the label that makes me think of one of those little Italian sports cars that you might be in if you wanted to drive the length of Italy.
The winery says the 1,001 miles are full of wine regions, microclimates and traditions that have shaped and helped solidify Italy’s fame throughout the centuries. The particular area where the grapes for this wine are grown is in the hills around Garda Lake, which is just west of Venice in northern Italy. The Mille1 grapes grow on hills southwest of the lake.
The expansion and retraction of glaciers thousands of years ago have created an amphitheater of vineyards. The area usually is sunny and breezy, which helps the health of the vines and helps the grapes ripen fully without mildew or disease. This is especially important when after harvest some of the grapes are left to dry in boxes for the appassimento process, a traditional technique in this area.
The grapes are a blend of 40 percent rebo (a cross between teroldego and merlot developed in northern Italy in the 1920s), 40 percent merlot and 20 percent corvina. The merlot goes through the appassimento process for 25-30 days. This produces a fuller-bodied wine with a unique texture.
The vines are between nine and 18 years old and are farmed organically. After maceration and fermentation in stainless steel, the wine is aged for 8-10 months in 500 hectoliter French oak casks. It then spends another six months in the bottle before it is released.
The result is a refreshing, vibrant wine. It is a gorgeous garnet in the glass, slightly opaque and with scents of wildflowers, blackberries and warm spices. On the palate it is lively and medium bodied. Savory undertones lead to notes of red berries. It finishes with a silky softness.
The wine should be served at 64 degrees, or slightly cooler than room temperature.
Winery: Mille1 is a recent project of the Bertola family’s Pratello winery. The wine was first made in 2014, so this is just the fourth vintage.
The family has been making wine under the Pratello label for centuries. Located in the heart of a medieval village, Pratello owns 160 acres of vines, focusing mainly on varietals indigenous to the region. The company even offers stays at what it calls its “wine resort.”
Owner and winemaker Vincenzo Bertola farms according to what he calls the “Pratello method,” going well beyond organic practices to use minimal amounts of copper and sulphites. The company also focuses on biodiversity and renewable resources.
The company produces about 250,000 bottles of Mille1 per year.
Mille1 is a good value offered by Dalla Terra Winery Direct. Instead of the traditional three-tiered distribution system, Dalla Terra allows distributors to purchase and ship wine directly from the wineries, eliminating about 25 percent in markups on each bottle.
Goes with: We had this lively wine with Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce over pasta, with a crusty baguette and a salad. I love the taste of Newman’s various sauces and I love the idea that he set the company up to donate all profits to charity.
This time we did the tomato basil sauce, nice and light and not filling. It was one of those cool, rainy days we had a couple of weeks ago, and the spaghetti dinner warmed us up. The herbs and seasonings in the sauce perfectly matched the spice and blackberry flavors in the wine.
Mille1 also would be great on a picnic when we get some warmer days. It is a versatile wine, pairing well with meat on the grill, fried chicken, lighter soups and a variety of cheeses. It’s great for a weeknight dinner or a special weekend meal.

If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at

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