Food & Drink

Celebrate the Ancient New Year with These Italianate Sips

Two-thousand years ago, March 1 was designated as New Year’s Day on the early Roman calendar.

The year 2020 is one we’d all like to forget. Wouldn’t it be a kick to have a do-over? Two-thousand years ago, March 1 was designated as New Year’s Day on the early Roman calendar because March was considered the first month of the year. Let’s celebrate the ancient new year with these Italianate delectables.

Barone Pizzini Franciacorta “Animante” NV
($40, Winebow)

In the 19th century, the Barone Pizzini family endeavored to make a sparkling wine to rival the best of France’s Champagne region. They planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just like the French and made the wines exactly as they are made in Champagne, but with more age. The result, then as now, is a decadent bubbly with all the finesse of a fine Champagne, just with an Italian signature. Sure, it’s good for toasts, but also pairs well with creamy sauces, cheeses, and, of course, caviar.

Birra Dolomiti Pils
($15 six-pack, Constantine)

Nestled in the foothills of the Italian Alps, Birra Dolomiti brews up a crisp, flavorful Pilsner in the same time-honored manner that was popular when the region was still part of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire. Ideal for all kinds of reveling, it is also delicious with grilled sausages and caramelized onion.

Antica Torino Sweet Vermouth
($33, Free Run Wine Merchant)

If you like a good Manhattan, you’re going to love this Vermouth. Rather than chase a homogenous, international style of Vermouth, Antica Torino chose to focus on ingredients common in their home region of Piedmont in Italy. Rosemary, gentian, bay laurel, thyme, and other aromatics are blended with the base wine and burnt cane sugar to forge this sophisticated Vermouth that’s delightful on ice and masterful in a cocktail.