Lupo Italian Kitchen wins Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

Rehoboth Beach restaurant has been honored for seven consecutive years
July 5, 2023

Newcomers to Lupo Italian Kitchen in downtown Rehoboth Beach can expect fresh pasta, sauces made from scratch and old-school meatballs — and they won’t be disappointed. But the wine list might surprise them.

The carefully vetted list, dedicated to Italian wines only, is one reason why Lupo Italian Kitchen has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the seventh consecutive year.

“We feature known selections as well as some great finds,” said Mike Zygmonski, beverage director, who oversees the wine program. “And we categorize our wines in a user-friendly way.”

For instance, within the red and white sections are options for guests who like light-, medium- or full-bodied wines.

If guests need assistance, they can count on Lupo servers, who undergo extensive training to ensure they can suggest the perfect complement to a meal.

Here are a few of Zygmonski’s insider tips. New to the List: La Capranera Falanghina Campania, 2021, and Vino di Anna Palmentino Nerello Mascalese Siclia, 2018. An ancient grape, falanghina is grown nearly exclusively in the Campania region. “It is medium- to full-bodied, with lots of tropical fruit honey and almond,” he said. “It’s our new white wine by the glass. Pair it with mussels, grilled octopus or calamari.”

Vino di Anna, a small, family-owned estate in Sicily, makes the red Palmentino with organically grown, hand-harvested Nerello Mascalese grapes. “It is bright, fresh and delicious,” Zygmonski said. Lupo offers the wine by the bottle.

Zygmonski’s pick is Bucci Verdicchio Le Marche, 2020, and Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Toscana, 2017. “Bucci has been one of my favorite Italian wines since discovering it almost 12 years ago,” Zygmonski said. “It’s made from 100% verdicchio, and it’s balanced, elegant and shows of golden delicious apples and almonds.  Order a bottle with marinated mozzarella, linguini and clams or whole rainbow trout.”

To pair with pasta, try the Felsina, one of the best producers of Chianti Classico, Zygmonski said. “It’s made from Sangiovese grapes and aged an additional two years, as evidenced by ‘Riserva’ in the title. Lupo offers it by the bottle.”

The best overall pick is Antinori Cervaro Chardonnay Umbria, 2021, and Quintarelli Rosso Cà Del Merlo Veneto, 2012. Zygmonski calls the Cervaro the “Montrachet of Italy.” The wine is mostly chardonnay with a small amount of grechetto. “The palate is savory, lively and fresh,” he said. “If you love chardonnay that drinks like a great white Burgundy at a great price, look no further.”

“[Giuseppe Quintarelli] is the greatest producer of amarone ever. Period,” Zygmonski said. “This wine is mostly made with Valpolicella grapes, corvina and rondinella, with small amounts of cabernet sauvignon and nebbiolo. The wine is then aged for seven years before it is bottled.” He warned that this is a very limited wine, so don’t wait to come in and enjoy it.

Lupo Italian Kitchen is located in the Hotel Rehoboth at 247 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach.

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