Movie & Wine Pairing


Duca di Cardino 2016
Rosso di Montepulciano DOC, Italy

Little Caesar (1931)
SUNDAY, APRIL 28 @ 08:00 PM (ET)

This youthful and vibrant Italian red is a great match for Warner Brothers’ Chicago-set gangster film – starring one of Hollywood’s most charismatic tough guys, Edward G. Robinson. It’s the quintessential pre-code crime movie, and one that set the tone for an entire genre of fast-talking, gun-toting, underworld stories. Modeled after real-life mobster Al Capone, the title character was originally intended for Clark Gable, but it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Robinson in the role; he’s as undeniable as the rich flavors in your glass.


In the Middle Ages, Orazio Barbanera defeated the Florentines in a skirmish that took place in a field of artichokes, earning him the title Duca di Cardino (The Duke of Artichokes). Centuries later, the Barbanera family are still accustomed to victory, only now it’s for their top-notch wines. Their Rosso di Montepulciano pays tribute to the duke and earned a 91-point rating from leading Italian critic Luca Maroni. Crafted with Sangiovese and other grapes grown in the estate’s sloping vineyards (during the stellar 2016 vintage, no less), it brims with ripe-and-spicy forest fruit and is made to be enjoyed in its smooth, fruit-packed youth.


The Barbaneras have made delicious wines in Tuscany since 1938. These days, siblings Marco, Paolo, and Simona (below) are at the helm, and have continued their family’s mission of producing world-class wines. They’ve installed state-of-the-art temperature control equipment (ideal for aging their top reds), and brought on the acclaimed Mario Ercolino to oversee winemaking.


WM_BarbanerasinVineyardMontepulciano (the grape) is planted widely across Italy, but Rosso di Montepulciano (the wine) hails from the DOC region of the same name in Tuscany. A youthful, great-value alternative to better-known (and pricier!) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the wines star Sangiovese (a minimum of 70%) and tend to be richer than Chianti, reflecting the warmer production zone.


pizz_sausage_pepperoniThis is exactly the kind of youthful, easy-drinking Italian red we love to sip with pizza. Go for spicy pepperoni or sausage (to play off the spice notes in the wine) or tomato and spinach for a tasty vegetarian option. It’ll also be delicious with classic spaghetti and meatballs. You could also enjoy it alongside a plate of charcuterie and firm, aged cheeses.

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