September 26, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Wine signs

By |2018-03-21T18:35:04+01:00January 1st, 2009|Food & Wine Archive|
Wines depend on character, their own and yours.

or centuries the zodiac has been connected to personality types, body structure, even hair and eye color to determine fellowship and romantic matches. Here’s a light-hearted approach to wine pairing with the help of life coach and astrologist Fiona Campbell. She helps us discover what the oenological oracles are saying we should be drinking in the age of Aquarius.

Capricorn: December 21-January 19

Capricorns have lofty personal goals. They are disciplined, trustworthy and responsible. Recognizing that status can be earned as often through hard work as through pedigree, they gain personal satisfaction knowing others respect them for their accomplishments. Firm believers in stability and structure, they lean toward prestigious wines with faithful reputations and elegance.

Grape of choice: Nebbiolo.

Wine: Gaja Barbaresco 2003 — A sensual, concentrated wine with complex aromas of blackberry, cherry, truffles and earth. This Barbaresco has a lingering licorice finish and a ripe chewable structure.

When to drink: 2009-2021

Aquarius: January 20-February 18

Rebellious and often misunderstood, Aquarians revel in defying public opinion. Secretly pleased at resisting and vexing the mainstream, they are independent and creative nonconformists who value freedom. Frank and outspoken, they express their beliefs and feelings through intellect rather than emotion.

Grape of choice: Aglianico [ah-LYAH-nee-koh].

Wine: Terredora di Paolo Taurasi 2001 — Flirtatious ruby red with aromatics of bramble fruits, black cherries, tar, and tobacco. Beautiful dusty tannins on the palate and a lively finish.

When to drink: Remarkably drinkable for its youth but benefits from decanting or two-to-three hours aeration. Enjoy now or give it a couple years.

Pisces: February 19-March 20

Pisceans are compassionate and warm-hearted, with intuitive taste even as novice wine drinkers. They would collect wines if they could, but generally speaking the fish has little interest in material things. Charismatic and sensitive to vibes, they need to feel spiritual or psychic ties to the world around them and often champion the downtrodden.

Grape of choice: Any grape kissed by the sea.

Wine: Livio Felluga Tocai Friulano 2007 — A well structured medium bodied white, almost canary yellow with green highlights. The Tocai has minerality at the finish which helps highlight the citrus, almond and white stone fruits at the fore.

When to drink: Enjoy it young.

Aries: March 21-April 20

Aries folk can be opinionated, headstrong and impatient. Their adventurousness compliments their risk-taking nature; they like a good challenge. Their deeply competitive streak is visible in their wine selections. The Aries is usually the friend you can depend on to introduce you to something new. Today it’s the wine region of Ribera del Duero, tomorrow who knows.

Grape of choice: Primitivo… Well, at least this week.

Wine: Primitivo di Manduria-Sessantanni 2004 — A reasonably priced red with a delightful bouquet of prunes, figs, cherry, licorice and tobacco. This Primitivo is a risk worth taking for its impressively sweet complexity. Not a wine for everyone, but certainly memorable.

When to drink: Now, and should still develop for a few more years.

Taurus: April 21-May 20

Taurus appreciates beauty and the finer things of life, indulging in epicurean sensuality. Both dependable and stubborn, they want the best, but at a practical price. Patient, they have the potential to be savvy wine collectors and are excellent hosts, buying bottles when they’re young and less expensive, then proudly pulling them out at their peak for an epic slow food meal.

Grape of choice: The noble grapes.

Wine: Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 1997 — Rich ripe black forest fruit with smoky chocolate notes on the nose as well as roasted plums and a hint of fennel on the palate.

When to drink: Hold for at least another three years.

Gemini: May 21-June 21

Either nervous and moody or methodical and serious, the Gemini wine drinker is two sides of the same coin. Intellectual and social, Geminis are difficult to pin down and possess a natural mental flexibility that makes them quick learners. They communicate readily and gladly share their discoveries with others.

Grape of choice: Red, white or black.

Wine: Whatever impeccably expresses the spirit of the moment from vino da tavola to vino sfuso, or perhaps even a classy Ribolla Gialla. Their choice in wine compliments their surroundings and the character of the food being served. They dislike the pretentious , want what all might enjoy and what might set the right tone for the moment.

When to drink: At dinner in a trattoria, on a picnic, or when closing that important business deal.

Cancer: June 22-July 22

A Cancerian is romantic and emotional, but puts on a tough face. To cover for this vulnerability, the Cancer pretends to be indifferent or aloof. Ruled by the moon, folks under this sign have a strong sense of family and tradition and are reverent toward maintaining customs. Thinking with their hearts, they love to reminisce about past events and shared history.

Grape of choice: Moscato Bianco.

Wine: “Piani di Tufara” Moscato di Trani DOC —Venetians were trading this wine as early as 1000 AD. Pale and sweet with attractive scents of pineapple, mango, papaya and honey, it has a long seductive almond finish.

When to drink: Now, as an excellent aperitivo, with goose liver foie gras, or oysters.

Leo: July 23-August 22

Fun-loving and boisterous, Leos can be the class clown or the show-offs. They joyously thrive on appreciation and attention from others. Confident and enthusiastic, they love performing. They are also natural-born leaders, both creative and decisive, and can be impatient or judgmental.

Grape of choice: Bosco and Albarola or other whites from sun-drenched seacoasts.

Wine: Arrigoni Sciacchetrà (shahk-eh-TRA) DOC 2003 — Among the rarest Italian dessert wines, Boccaccio and Petrarch noted its uniqueness in prose and poetry, while Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder considered it a bringer of wisdom. Collectors who troop to Cinque Terre acquire the greater part of the production.

When to drink: Now, or let age further.

Virgo: August 23-September 22

Fastidious, precise and analytical, Virgos are compulsive about their passions. Able to see and to follow through with the task at hand, they are detail-oriented, and good at jobs that require multitasking or involve quality control. Too busy to daydream, their sense of duty also leaves them too weary to wish on stars.

Grape of choice: “Ho solo bio… biologica e biodinamico.”

Wine: Podere Canneta Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2007 — The wine is made from Vernaccia, the only DOCG white within Tuscany. Produced according to the European Commission’s organic production regulations, this Vernaccia is delicate with fine notes of lime and pear.

When to drink: Now!

Libra: September 23-October 22

Libra is the indecisive, vacillating opportunist sure to be the refined diplomat at the dinner table. In a restaurant, their choice in wines will attempt to please everyone in both price and elegance. The painstaking precision may linger long after everyone else has chosen his or her entree.

Grape of choice: Budget reds with abundant fruit and not too much oak

Wine: Badia di Coltibuono Cancelli Rosso 2004 — A delightful blend of Sangiovese and Syrah with a bright, perfumed aroma of spice, black pepper and cherries. Fresh and velvety, this wine delivers bright and bold fruit and finishes with silky tannins and firm acidity.

When to drink: Now.

Scorpio: October 23-November 21

Passionate and secretive, the best-kept secrets in a Scorpio’s cellar are shared with only the chosen few. Strong-willed and determined, almost to the point of stubbornness, they are great competitors, even if they are able to hide this seductive desire to be or have the best and to always win.

Grape of choice: Nebbiolo.

Wine: Barolo Sarmassa di Barolo DOCG 2004 —Produced solely in magnum bottles, this powerfully seductive wine is lushly dense with flavors of cherry, rose petals and raspberries, framed in spice, mocha, warm earth and oak.

When to drink: Decant vintages under 10 years old. Can age for decades.

Sagittarius: November 22-December 21

An impulse wine buyer, the Saggitarian loves the story behind the grapes as much as the wine itself (they are usually too impatient to maintain even a small wine cellar). Sagittarians are free-spirited and natural teachers. Willing to try anything, they still see life clearly even while wearing rose-tinted glasses. Waxing philosophical, they can be idealistic and generous to the point of extravagance, rationalizing their risk-taking intensity as a way of living up to their quest for adventure.

Grape of choice: Sangiovese or Sagrantino, fermented by experimental artisanal winemakers in rented cantinas or even someone’s garage.

Wine: Vinochisti 200? — This limited-production wine is made from an ancient clone of Sagrantino. It is unabashedly uninhibited even while still in the barrique. Taken from small yields, it has a brooding high intensity and athletic structure but is already exhibiting an excellent balance of wild fruit to wood. Not quite finished yet, first sips bode well for its maiden bottling.

When to drink: For now, it’s still in the cellar with the winemaker; stay tuned for first vintage.

About the Author:

Lynda Albertson's monthly wine column appeared between 2006 and 2010.