Posts Filed Under Italian Wine
Last year, I spent a good amount of time (lucky for me) jaunting around the northern Italian countryside, taking in the sights, sounds, and (most importantly!) the flavors of Asti and Monferrato.
I’m happy to report that the work that we (that’s me and the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato) did in those beautiful environs is now being published on an English-language website called My Name is Barbera.
My work there will consist of a combination of long-form articles, as well as short video vignettes that we recorded during the trip (the first of which is embedded below), the latter of which will have about as much jealous-rage-enducing views of the gorgeous Italian countryside as you can handle in a minute and half without drooling on your screen or starting to smash things.
While this work and publishing is in play, I won’t be formally reviewing any Barbera wines from the area here on 1WD (this is a paying gig, after all), but I make no promises as to not doing my best to stoke your travel bug urges to get your butt over there and witness Monferrato’s beauty for yourself. For now, though, you can enjoy it via proxy.
Anyway, you can follow along with my Monferrato escapades at http://www.mynameisbarbera.com/author/joe-roberts/.
Monferrato Moves Episode #1 – Open Space
I recently visited an area of Tuscany that is, ironically, probably better known for old school Vespa production than for wine, despite being in a prime tourist location between some of the region’s most popular northern cities: Terre di Pisa. It’s an area with a tight-knit, talented group of producers, and some of the more fascinating vineyard soils that you’ll ever see (and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of them).
I wrote about the experience for Palate Press, which you can check out via the link below:
Forward to the Past: the wines of Terre di Pisa
TdP views from Beconcini
I’m not going to give away the wine geekiness goodies from the article here (c’mon, you’re not really that lazy, are you?) but I thought that I’d at least list and link the wines highlighted in the piece:
Check out the article for the details, and, of course, the wines themselves (for a taste of what Tuscany is like from an area not dominated by the dueling monocultures of grapes and olives…).
What do you do at harvest time if you are part of a family wine business, but are highly allergic to pollen?
If you’re Alessio Inama, son of Azienda Agricola Inama‘s Stefano Inama, you hoof it to the major wine markets, and take media types like me out to dinner so that we can taste your wines. Which is how I got to meet Alessio at Philly’s excellent Fishtown-area haunt Root last week.
Alessio describes his father as “a crazy man,” and certainly he has a rep in the wine world for possessing the quintessentially Italian trait of bucking convention (which is second only to the quintessentially Italian trait of adhering almost blindly to tradition). This is fortunate for anyone who loves eclectic northern Italian white wines, as Inama is now well-known as producing the thinking person’s Soave. Alessio quoted his father as saying “the first step to making a great wine… is to fire the accountant.” It’s hard not to like such a character (unless you’re his accountant). Especially when he also makes Carmenere (more on that in a minute).
Back in the 70s, Soave had its heyday, being one of the most recognizable Italian wine regions, if not its most famous white wine regional brand. As in all such things, insipidness and market hangover ensued, and by the 1990s Soave wasn’t much considered as the world turned to Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay (though Soave remained popular in its home country). It was during the heyday in the`70s that Alessio’s grandfather, Giuseppe, began buying up small, lava basalt hillside lots in the Soave Classico region (today they own about 30 hectares).
Today, Soave is a bit of a bell curve. At one end, you have insipid, forgettable quaffers; in the middle, a large production of capable, often very good, almost always refreshing sippers best enjoyed in the warmest months; on the tail end, a small number of producers who push the region’s Garganega grape to its physiological – and philosophical -limits…
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In what will come as a surprise to no one, Fix.com has published the companion piece to my Italian White Wine Grapes article, The Grapes Behind Italian Red Wines.
That one definitely fits right into the saw-it-coming-from-a-mile-away-bro category.
Having said that, I think that the geeky among you will be pleasantly surprised by my grape picks from central Italy on down. And can we get a major shout-out to the Fix.com graphics team here? I mean, they did a killer job of representing the different grapes and their flavors (check out what the did for minerality… just… awesome).
The full infographic is embedded below for your enjoyment, but you’ll need to head on over to Fix.com for the full text.
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