I have a guy. Or rather: our flat has a guy. Here in Italy, everyone has a guy. In most countries, having a guy means having someone who goes around breaking the kneecaps of people who owe you money or looked at your sister the wrong way. Not in Italy. In Italy ‘having a guy’ means knowing someone who makes a certain product, normally food, and who enables you to bypass normal channels, such as shops, to obtain this product.
Our guy makes wine. When our stock starts running low, rather than going to shops like some sort of commoners, we text our guy and tell him we need wine. He then tells us when he’s next going to be in Turin, and we arrange to be at home to receive his delicious produce, which he delivers in a big-ass, 52-litre demijohn. We then invite him to stay for dinner, because it’s important to keep your guy happy and be in his good books.
We are in our guy’s good books, clearly, because the other day we were over at his house for a short visit, and he treated us particularly well, with wine, food, and banter. That day, as often, we were discussing wine – especially the various types of wine he makes. We always get Barbera (red) or Cortese (white), but he let us taste some of the other ones, too.
Then we got to the Brachetto, a slightly sparkling, sweet dessert wine. I didn’t want to offend, but I had to be honest: I hate sweet wine. That’s OK, he assured me, many people do. The trick, however, is to drink it not as if it were a wine, but a dessert. Throw some fruit in, he said. Strawberries, or peaches in syrup, so you can drink the wine and then eat the alcohol-soaked fruit. He reached into one of the many boxes of bottles that were standing around in the pantry. “Here, take this bottle. It’s a gift, just to see what you think. Let me know.”
I tried. It was good. I ended up going for nectarines, because they are a) kinda in season, and b) actually much nicer than strawberries, and less sweet than peaches in syrup, which is good if you want to balance out the flavour of the sweet, sweet wine a little bit. We had this on a hot day, just after a barbecue, and it really hit the spot. It’s kind of like sangría, so this is probably nothing new to you, but if you ever get the chance to buy some Brachetto and some nectarines, give this a shot.
So for 5 or 6 people, use:
- 1 bottle of brachetto
- 3 or 4 nectarines, ripe ones, preferably already on the soft side
- ice cubes (optional)
Chill the Brachetto a little bit beforehand, but not too much.
Remove the skin from your nectarines. If they’re pretty ripe, you can probably pull it off pretty easily: make a small incision near the stick, then pull down.
Cut the nectarines into wee cubes, chuck those into the desired number of glasses, top with Brachetto, and if you feel it’s a bit too hot out, chuck in a couple of ice cubes.