Wine enthusiasts looking for the perfect pairing don’t have to travel all the way to the Italian city of Parma for a pour. In the heart of downtown, Wine by the Bay brings Italy’s top labels to Miami by way of storeowner—and Parma native—Stefano Campanini.
Of its 250-bottle inventory, 80 hail from Campanini’s home country, with choices dictated in part by Miami’s changing culinary and cultural landscape. “Miami has become so international,” Campanini says. “Now, we have all the top chefs, all the best restaurants in the world. Food is more sophisticated, and wine has to follow in the steps of the food. With anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 types of Italian grapes, Italian wine is best understood by region. “It’s so regionally based, they make the wine in one valley, [and] it may not go beyond that,” he explains. This accounts for why some Italian grapes became famous across Italy and all over the world and others didn’t. “The famous three are Barolo, Brunello, and Amarone, but there are many others worth exploring.”
1996 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste
Campanini and his crew regularly invite Miamians to his wine boutique for such exploration. Weekly tastings present regionally based lineups, from southern Italy to Veneto and Tuscany. Campanini keeps them “interesting, informative, and not too geeky,” to make the complicated architecture of Italian wine accessible and enjoyable. And he doesn’t mind making food-pairing suggestions. “We have people calling after they come to a tasting, explaining the dish they’re making and requesting the right accompaniment.”
What are his favorites right now for Miami? The 2000 Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico and a 1996 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. Like all good wines, these two, he says, “are made to mature through the years and peak 10 to 15 years after bottling.... the big tannins smooth out, the acidity becomes less. Ten years later, you have the perfect concoction.” Miami wouldn’t uncork anything less. 888 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-455-9791