Prosecco is the largest selling sparkling (spumante) wine in Italy. Italians drink it as an aperitif (no self- respecting Roman or Venetian goes out to dinner without having a glass of Prosecco first), with food, and to celebrate. I was invited to be one of the judge at a Prosecco & Pizza Competition
Calabria lies at the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. A mountainous region, it is bordered by Basilicata to the north and by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. Ninety percent of Calabria’s wine production is red and most of it is made from the Gaglioppo grape. This variety was once believed to be of Greek origin but recent research seems to point to it coming from another part of Italy.
A traditional dish from the Veneto region: risi e bisi
Even if Lago di Garda stretches across three Italian regions—Lombardy to the west, Veneto to the east, and Trentino Alto Adige to the north—each guards its regional differences zealously, as do all Italian regions, especially when it comes to food. Because we couldn’t take into account the different regional varieties in this short piece on local gastronomy, we chose to concentrate on Veneto.
Last May the Wine Media Guild, an association of wine writers, organized a tasting and lunch featuring the red wines of Sicily. I am the co-chair of the organization and was the member sponsor of this event. The wines were from all over the island and ranged in price for $12.99 to $159.99.
Aglianico is a black grape grown in Southern Italy, mainly in Campania and Basilicata. In Basilicata it is made into a wine called Aglianico del Vulture, because the best vineyards are located in and around Mount Vulture, the extinct volcano in the northern area of the province of Potenza. The wine was awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1971 and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status in 2011. It is the region’s only DOCG wine.
When I worked as the wine director for I Trulli Restaurant and Enoteca in New York City, we offered many wines from the region of Puglia. Located in the heel of the Italian “boot”, Puglia borders on the Adriatic Sea.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red wine made in the ruggedly mountainous region of Abruzzo in east-central Italy. It should not be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a similarly named wine made in Tuscany.
Wine expert Charles Scicolone explains why Sourhern Italian wines have long been undervalued and not well known in the US. First, they are made from unusual grape varieties that are not recognized by most consumers. Second, most American tourists used to visit Northern and Central Italy and had little chance to sample these wines in the places they are made. The situation, however is changing as more and more customers are coming to realize that these are high quality wines—and they go very well with food!