For the adventurous wine drinker, no country offers as much variety of wine as Italy. Grapes are grown in almost all corners of the country, and there are more than one million vinyeards under cultivation making it the second largest producer of wine in the world, just behind France……..in most vintages.
We’ll do our best this Friday, September 14 from 4-7 p.m. to provide you with a sampling of notable wines from some of Italy’s oldest and most noteworthy production zones. From the cooler climate, more Alpine-influenced wines of the north to the warm climate, Mediterranean influenced wines of central and southern Italy, we’ll take you on an educational, fun and delicious tour of the country via her wines. The cost to taste all six wines is just $5 or it’s free if you’re a Grape Nut.
1. 2010 Orsolani Erbaluce di Caluso – Caluso is in the far northern reaches of Italy, not too far from the Swiss border, and the Orsolani family work with the most noble white grape of the region – Erbaluce. The wine is as fresh as a mountain stream with lovely notes of lemon, pear, green melon and limestone minerality.
2. 2011 Roagna Langhe Bianco – Started early in the 20th century, this small family estate is highly revered for their Barbarescos. Although white wine is not their focus, they make a small amount of this true original – a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Nebbiolo…….yes, I said Nebbiolo, which is a red grape. It is truly delicious and completely unique.
3. 2009 Sartarelli Verdicchio “Tralivio” – The Sartarelli family are one of the reference point estates for high quality Verdicchio. The grape thrives in the regions along the cost of and inland of the Adriatic Sea, in central-eastern Italy. Mineral and herbs burst out of the glass of this focused and pure white leading into a palate dominated by lemon, nectarine and peach notes. 91 points – The Wine Advocate
4. 2009 G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso – We head back up north to Italy’s Piemonte region to sample a wine from the fantastic Vajra family estate. Renowned for their Barolos, they also make this honest red, which serves as the family’s “house wine”. It is always a blend of several grapes including Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Freisa and Pinot Nero, but we’re not really sure what the current incarnation contains. We do know, however, that it is delicious!
5. 2008 Pirro Varone Primitivo di Manduri “Casa Vecchia” – Pirro Varone specializes in old-vine Primitivo, which is the same grape as Zinfandel, and his vineyards are all certified organic and located in the heel of Italy’s boot in Puglia. This one shows the “heartier” side of Italian wine, with rustic, spicy notes of berries, herbs and spices. Perfect for fall fare!
6. 2010 Perazzeta Erio Rosso Toscana – We’ll end the tasting with a Super Tuscan from the Bocci family. This blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Cab and Syrah is about as friendly as Italian wine can get. Luscious red fruits and exotic spices are present in the nose and the palate of this super red wine that will have you thinking that it costs $40+.