4 To Try in 2020: Italy’s Franciacorta, Friuli, Chianti, Mt. Etna #ItalianFWT

 

From Franciacorta in the north in Lombardy and Friuli in the northeast to Toscana in central west and Sicily in the southwest, Italy is full of wines to discover. With over 2000 indigenous grapes grown in the 20 regions, the range of wines and expressions makes getting to know and understand Italian wine an interesting challenge as I discovered last year during the VinItaly Wine Ambassador Course.

Think it’s time to tune up your Italian wine game in 2020?

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3 Surprising Sparklers from Emilia-Romagna’s Terramossa #ItalianFWT

When Rome –what we think of today as Italy– was split between west and the east, Ravenna in Romagna was the eastern Roman empire seat. With eleven UNESCO sites and plenty of Roman ruins in the unexplored areas, plus being the gastronomic and economic hub of Italy with the oldest University IN THE WORLD (Bologna), it’s no wonder in 2018, the Lonely Planet guide named Emilia-Romagna as the best place to see in Europe!

While it may be well known gastronomically, the region is less well known for its wines, which is why for this month’s Italian Food Wine Travel prompt host Susannah includes the area when she suggests “focusing on wines from those regions perhaps you know less about such as Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy or Liguria in the North, Emilia Romagna and Lazio in Central Italy or Basilicata, Molise, Calabria in the South, among others.” She invites us to investigate an area of Italy that we haven’t explored recently…but for Sue and I in Ventura, those wines can be hard to come by without a trip to Winehouse LA or shopping online!

Enter Italian Wine Ambassador and importer Sheila Donahue of Verovinogusto. I contacted her  to see if she had any wines for us to write about because her US warehouse is located only a few miles from my house! More importantly, she’s based in Bologna, knows the region well, and imports a number of wines from Lombardy and Emlia-Romagna. In fact, in June we wrote about two wonderful Lambrusco that she imports from Lombardy.

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Let Pasqua Put a Little Love in Your Life Appassimento Style #ItalianFWT

Pasqua puts a little love in your life via their wines which feature Verona’s most famous love story — that of Romeo and Juliet. Even today in Verona, lovers write around 3,000 messages on the wall of Juliet’s house in Cappello Street. A photo of that wall shot by photographer Giò Martorana superimposes with the names of these wines: PassioneSentimento.

Pasqua offers two very unusual dry wines, one white and one red wine made by an unusual and time consuming process– and one that is rarely (if ever!) done intentionally in the US. In fact, Pasqua offers the only dry red in the U.S. market made from 100% dried grapes that’s not Valpolicella nor an Amarone, and one of the rare whites.

What’s the process? It’s called appassimento and it’s what the Italian Food Wine and Travel group of writers is writing about this month! 

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Let Pasqua Put a Little Love in Your Life: Prosecco and Rosato

It’s time to put a little love in your life!

If you can’t travel to Black Rock City aka Burning Man or the city of Verona — home to one of the most famous love stories of all time,  Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare– you can put a little love in your life this summer or fall by using your imagination with a little help from Pasqua’s romantic reds, whites, rosatos and Prosecco wines!

equally romantic and delicious…

Shakespeare’s TIMELESS love story about Romeo and Juliet resonates today, and with Verona indelibly associated with it, you won’t be surprised to learn that every day 3,000 or so messages are written on the 20-foot wall of Juliet’s house in Cappello Street.

The label for Pasqua’s Romeo & Juliet wines features an eye-catching photo of that graffitied wall, shot by photographer Giò Martorana, with the PassioneSentimento wine name superimposed.

We paired these inexpensive, excellent valued and beautiful wines from Pasqua with a late summer and fall favorite — make your own pizzas with a gathering of three families poolside at a friend’s home.

As several people in our party are vegetarian or rarely eat meat, the focus was on veggie toppings. Joining me tasting was Sue and her partner John, and our host Judy and her spouse Jay who have a wonderful large granite slab for laying out ingredients and making the pizzas, plus an assortment of kids drank Italian soda and my husband enjoyed Italian beer.

Today check out Pasqua’s Prosecco and Rose, and tomorrow, we have two passimento wines, one red and one white, for #ItalianWFT! Read the invite by host Katarina here.

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Celebrating Summer with 4 Wines from the NE Mountains of Italy with 4 Vegetarian Courses #ItalianFWT

While I couldn’t get to the mountains of Italy, I did take 3 of the 4 wines to the mountains of southern California — Big Bear Lake to be exact!

Who knew the cuisine of the Südtirol region of Italy to be so deliciously seductive?

Or that Alpine foods combine Italian sophistication and lightness?

Or that there are so many wonderful vegetarian choices? Not me!

What we found in the northeastern mountains of Italy: specialities from both culinary traditions, Italy and the Alps, a unique cuisine with many enticing dishes along with excellent and unusual wines!  Continue reading

Bugno Martino’s Organic Lambrusco Defy Expectations #ItalianFWT

Q. “Giuseppe, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
A. “I want to be a Vigneron!”

Q. “What to do you want to do with all these grapes?”
A. “I will make Lambrusco, a real good one!”

Q. “Giuseppe, why do you make Lambrusco?”
A. “Because it brings me happiness!”

This summer, let Lambrusco defy your expectations and bring you happiness!

But not just any Lambrusco will do– it needs to be a really good one. And this month, just in time for Lambrusco Day on Friday June 21, the Italian Food Wine Travel group has a few to recommend! See the preview post here and links and titles of participant below.

Here on Wine Predator, we are excited to share two organic Lambrusco from Bugno Martino, Rosso Matilde, and Essentia, their traditionelle method Lambrusco which is such a new product that their website does not yet mention it.

While most Lambrusco comes from Emilia-Romagna (71%) with some from Puglia (20%), these two come from a small 9 hectare organic vineyard in the Mantovano area of the Lombardy region pictured in orange in the lower right of the map below. Lambrusco from this region comprise only 9% of production.

These two wines definitely defy the expectations most Americans have of Lambrusco, which conquered the market in the 1970s and 1980s with a syrupy sweet low alcohol cherry/grape bubbly.  At a tasting in Beverly Hills a few years ago, I learned otherwise, and convinced Sue as well when we tasted, paired and wrote about three from Medici Ermete in June 2017.

Because of a declining interest in this style of wine, the surface area of plantings decreased 41% between 2000 and 2010.

 

 

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