“Touch the label,” says Andrea Romanese, as he offers the bottle of blush rosé around the table. He cradles its neck in one hand, the body resting against his arm, as if he’s not quite ready to part with it. I lean forward and do as I’m told, tracing the faint bumps with my fingers. It’s a simple design: a Picasso-esque sketch of a face in bold, black lines, set against a plain white background. Beneath it, the name Gabriella, printed in a demure font, refuses to betray the secret of the bottle.
We’ve been at Cantina Romanese – a small winery in the Italian province of Trentino – for the best part of an hour. Most people come to the Cantina to try Lagorai, a sparkling wine named after a nearby mountain chain that’s aged under the cool waters of Lake Levico. But as Andrea, who runs the winery with his brother Giorgio, regales us with Romanese lore, it’s soon clear that their most interesting wines have stronger ties to the family.
Several varieties are named after family members. Among them are Narciso, a bold, red representing their grandfather; Laetitia, an elegant white wine named after their grandmother; and Fides, a robust chardonnay that takes after their great grandmother. But every time we got to Gabriella, he would furtively brush questions aside.