A tour of Italy – Part 2

Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. A tour of Italy – Part 2 comes from The Sunday Sediment Issue 6.

Sicilia

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily boasts the greatest number of wineries of any Italian region. Leading light on the island is the fortified DOC wine, Marsala; so brilliant for cooking and superb when served with a hard cheese like Pecorino. While there are some impressive DOC wines here, there is also great value being offered by top quality producers making very good IGT wines from native varieties.

The South

Dino Illuminati

Generally, the south of Italy is all about value and generous, forward wine styles. Abruzzo is located on the coast north and east of Rome, the region home to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Historically significant as the place the vine first arrived in Italy from Greece, Apulia (or Puglia) is located in the middle of the heel of Italy’s boot. Known as a large volume producer, there are now top-rated DOCG, an impressive 25 DOC zones and a chariot-full of great Italian foods.

 

Italian Sparkling

Italian SparklingProduced largely in the north, Prosecco is the current high-flier of Italy’s respected sparkling wine industry. In 2009 it was awarded DOCG status, that important ‘G’ on the end adding a rock-solid guarantee to the quality of the wine. Franciacorta is both a highly-rated DOCG area and a sparkling wine with a huge reputation, produced a la champagne, but with even more stringent aging requirements than its French cousins.

Grappa

The Italians have been perfecting their heady spirit known as Grappa since the Middle Ages. A unique concoction produced from grape pomace (the skins, pulp, seeds and stems left over after the juice has been extracted for winemaking), Grappa began life as a coarse, home-made drink enjoyed by farmers after a hard day’s work. From these humble beginnings it has evolved into a highly refined spirit. By EU law, Grappa must be produced in Italy, without any added water, from fermented and distilled pomace. To produce it, the pomace is heated in a bain-marie (also known as a water bath or double boiler) to create steam, which is forced through a distillation column. The resulting colourless, filtered distillation can be enjoyed immediately, but the finest Grappas are aged in glass or wood, which changes the colour and adds complexity. Flavours, too, can vary considerably depending on the origin of the grape pomace, the blending and the aging process. Great post-prandial, or added to espresso.

Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

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A tour of Italy – Part 1


Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. A tour of Italy – Part 1 comes from The Sunday Sediment Issue 5.

Veneto

Veneto is home to the glorious sinking city of Venice and the romantic jewel that is Verona. Here, you’ll find great value Soave, Valpolicella and Bardolino wines. Less than half of the wine produced in Veneto is able to be labelled with the Italian quality mark of DOC, with large quantities of IGT (table wine) produced there, making it an important region for quantity. It is also home to the superstar Amarone, and to the sparkling Prosecco wines made in Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

Piemonte

Bruno Giacosca

Piemonte produces some of Italy’s most long-lived wines. A treasure trove of culinary delights, it is home to Barolo, Barbaresco, truffles and hazelnuts. The predominant red grapes are the indigenous Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, the whites, Arneis and Moscato. The wines are distinctly regional and oozing with flair. Lovers of Pinot Noir will feel right at home with Nebbiolo, which is bottled in its own right as well as being the variety behind the famed Barolo wines. Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

Toscana

Cesare & Andrea Cecchi with La Signora Cecchi

A long with Piemonte, Toscana (Tuscany) has the highest percentage of top-tier DOCG wines, and is home to the scarlet giants Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It is here that the new meets the old head-on, giving rise to the so-called Super Tuscans. The main variety in Tuscany is Sangiovese, used to make Chianti, with the variety’s greatest expression derived from the legendary Brunello clone developed by Montalcino’s Biondi-Santi family.

Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.

 

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Cangrande – Michele Marai – November 2016

cangrandeThe tastings of 2016 continued with Cangrande’s offering of Italian Festive Wines.  Michele presented with enthusiasm and was very knowledgeable and informative.  We had a very good turnout with 35 members and one guest.  The Italian themed supper was great with everyone mixing well. Thanks to the organisers.

The evenings offering included wines and beer along with some options for olive oil and balsamic vinegar which were available for the supper.  The tasting included a Verdicchio aperitif style for the quaffer, three sparkling wines, an Altaluna Belgian Ale, a Primitivo and a dessert style from Pantelleria, the Donnafugata – Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a couple of coffee bean options were also available for purchase.

p61109-202414Check out Cangrande – Italy’s finest for more details.

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Cangrande, Festive Wines – November 2016

cangrandeCangrande proudly presents the widest and highest quality range of Italian wines in New Zealand.

They have chosen to focus on excellence in order to ensure the exceptional standard reached in the last few years by Italian winemakers is fully represented in their catalogue. They currently offer several product lines, based on value, which can meet and satisfy the demands of mass retailers, restaurateurs, caterers, wine shops and any kind of wine traders in New Zealand. However, for all of these ranges, the price/quality ratio remains outstanding. For those interested in Italian wines, Cangrande is opening a shop in Petone, keep your eye out.

Cangrande stepped in late in August 2014 to give us a delightful taste of the wines of Italy and we are sure that they will produce a great range of wines to fit the festive theme. Work on this tasting is progressing but we have not quite finalised details as yet. Suffice it to say that it will be a great experience with a clear Italian theme.

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From the Editor – Aug 2014

Newsletter

We apologise to members for the lack of a newsletter last month.

If you read these newsletters you will know that your editor was “swanning off” in USA & Canada while poor Wayne had work related and home problems to cope with.

Never mind we are back in business this month with a couple of great events coming up.

We were pleased that Francesca was able to attend the July Dinner when her life membership was formalised. Congratulations Francesca.

Programme changes roll on

In the June newsletter, I mentioned a couple of changes. The late change to the Cuba Street Bistro was a success.

Moving on though the astute among you will also have noticed that this month’s meeting is also a change from that previously notified. There was a misunderstanding about scheduling with Millton.

cangrandeCangrande have stepped in and as you will have noted have offered a great chance to sample some high-quality Italian wines.

And I have already mentioned Villa Maria coming in for October. Some members of your committee have had to step up and do a great deal of negotiating to re-arrange the programme at short notice. Congratulations for the great work.

Subscriptions

A friendly reminder that subscriptions are due. Wayne will be happy to accept subs at next week’s meeting.

In addition, membership cards will be available at that meeting.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

 

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