Buon Anno! To kick off a new year and a new decade, the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers are sharing advice about Italian wines, specifically how you would introduce a friend to Italian wines. Jeff of Food Wine Click! is hosting; read his invitation here. That seems a very broad topic, so there should be plenty to learn.
If you are reading this early enough, feel free to join our live Twitter chat on Saturday, January 4th, at 8 o'clock (Pacific time). You can follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to include that if you chime in so we can see your tweets. In the meantime, here's the line-up of articles from the bloggers...
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Sips and Eats Around the Boot: A Primer to Italian Wines and Pairings.
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest is Introducing the Diversity of Italian Wine.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares Ringing in the New Year with Loved Ones and Prosecco.
- Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings post Sharing Lugana DOC – Winter Whites With Friends.
- Marcia at Joy of Wine asks The World of Italian Wine: Where Do I Begin?
- Gwen at Wine Predator gives us 4 To Try in 2020: Italy’s Franciacorta, Friuli , Chianti, Mt. Etna.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences explains that The Wines and Food of Custoza DOC are Some of Veneto’s Many Pleasures.
- Susannah at Avvinare details Three Noble Red Grapes that Help to Navigate the Italian Peninsula.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass queries What exactly IS this Italian grape?
- Jen at Vino Travels writes The Beginnings to Understanding Italian Wine.
- Kevin at Snarky Wine offers Cutting Your Teeth on Italian Wines.
- Katarina at Grapevine Adventures shares 3 Grapes to Get a Beginner’s Taste of Italian Wine.
- Nicole at Somm’s Table gives us an Italian Wine 101 Cheat Sheet.
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares Italian Wine 101 – Start Your Journey Here.
|Image from winefolly.com|
There are nearly twenty regions around the boot. I'm going to start at the toe and work my way around to the heel, ending with the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Apologies in advance for this Odyssey-long post. But, if you stick with me, I hope you learn something new...or are tempted to track down wines from these areas.
Gaglioppo is one of the grapes that is cultivated there and winemaking has been in the area since the time of the ancient Olympic games. So, logic followed that Gaglioppo had Greek origins, but recent DNA tests indicate that the grape exhibits a close genetic relationship between Sangiovese and ten other Italian grape varieties. So, it's a distinct varietal that includes several parent grapes.
I have only tried one Gaglioppo. You can read about that in my Braised Beef Cheeks over Garlic Gnocchi + Statti Calabria Gaglioppo 2015.
I think that Aglianico shares some of my favorite characteristics of Barolo - think violets, anise, and truffles. It's rustic, earthy, and tannic. And this bold, native-fermented version is gorgeous with notes of cherry and pepper. Other varieties include Fiano, Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca, and Moscato.
In 2016 we focused on volcanic wines; you can read my post Scorched Terroir and Explosive Wines. For that, I had poured The Villa Dora Vesuvio Rosso, a red wine from Vesuvio made from Piedirosso and Aglianico grapes and Villa Dora Vigna del Vulcano Bianco Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, a white wine made from Coda di Volpe and Falanghina.
While my blog lacks wines from Lazio, since I learned to cook in Rome, there is no dearth of Roman recipes to be had. My favorites: Pizza Con Patate, Supplì al Telefono, and Stracciatella alla Romana.
Other varieties to seek out would be Canaiolo, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Trebbiano.
There would be no argument in saying that Tuscan wines are the most well-known Italian wines in the United States. It is the home of Chianti after all! Back in November, the #ItalianFWT event was sponsored by Ricasoli and I posted Castello di Brolio Olio e Vino: Schiacciata all'Uva + 2015Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione.
Regarding Tuscan eats, I already mentioned porchetta, but I had my first panzanella in San Gimignano and make seasonal variations whenever I have leftover bread. Case in point: Panzanella di Primavera made with asparagus, fennel, and artichokes; Clash of the Seasons Panzanella where summer collides with autumn made with tomatoes and mushrooms.
In 2017, I paired Zuppa di Cipolla al Vino Rosso + Bava’s “Gionson” Nebbiolo. And, more recently, I found a trio of wines from Piemonte.
Researching Lombardy’s food specialties, I realized that we eat a lot of them regularly without realizing that they hailed from there. Think saffron risotto, bresaola, and the cheeses. You know I love the cheeses - Gorgonzola, from the town of the same name; Mascarpone (we have made our own mascarpone...forgive the spelling error on the photo, please!); parmesan-style Grana; Robiola soft cheese; and Bel Paese.
Traditional food from the region also seem to have an alpine feel such as canederli, bread balls made with speck or pancetta with milk, eggs and cheese and tradtionally served in a broth or with a bath of butter. Then there's strangolapreti, potato-spinach gnocchi served with plenty of parmesan cheese and melted butter. Look for a post for one of these and some wines in the near future.
The #ItalianFWT group did a deep dive into Prosecco Superiore recently. You can read my posts: Seared Agrodolce Duck Breasts + Nebbia ValdobbiadeneProsecco Superiore; Perlage Winery's 'Riva Moretta' Prosecco ValdobbiadeneFrizzante + A Cheeseboard; Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Millesimato ExtraDry from Prosecco Toffoli with roasted lobster; and Steamed Clams, Smoked Scallops, and Capellini + Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze.
Emilia-Romagna is the region is best known for Lambrusco, a sparkling red wine. Other key varietals include Trebbiano, Albana, Malvasia, and Sangiovese. The #ItalianFWT bloggers did a deep dive into Lambrusco in May of 2019. Initially, I paired Torta Barozzi + Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile. Then I gave it a second look with Warmed Brie with Mulberry Chutney + Cleto Chiarli Lambruscodi Sorbara Vecchia Modena 2018.
For the #ItalianFWT October 2019 event, I received Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOP 2017, Caldora Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2016, and Passerina IGP Terre di Chieti 2017 as samples. You can read my pairing here, for one of the wines: Scrippelle 'mbusse + Ferzo Passerina
You can read previous Puglia posting I've done: Handmade Orechiette with Tomaresca Neprica and Insalata con Polpi in Umido e Patate, even though my wine didn't make it in time for that pairing.
The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily's climate is perfect for viticulture. Nero d'Avola produces some fruity, medium-bodied reds while Grillo is made into juicy, luscious whites. In southern Sicily, Nero d'Avola is often blended with Frappato for the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG. Other grape varietals include Nerello Mascalese, Carricante, Catarratto, and Inzolia.
Read a few of my Sicilian pairings: Gnocchi Con Salsa di Pistacchi + Donnafugata Sherazade Rose 2014; Sicilian Regaleali Rosso + Pasta Con Le Sarde; and, with a white wine from the Etna DOC, I poured Pesce Spada al Salmoriglio (Swordfish with Salmoriglio Sauce).
The pairing photographed above is my Island Memories, Slow-Roasted Lamb, and Cannonau Di Sardegna.
Well, if you've read this far, I hope you've enjoyed this virtual journey around Italy's boot - some sips and eat from all the wine regions. Grazie mille for sticking with me. Next month the #ItalianFWT bloggers will be taking a look a wine cooperatives in Italy with Kevin at Snarky Wine leading the discussion. Can't wait, especially since I have no idea where to start. I love learning from this group. Cin cin!