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By Jove… Let’s Wine About It

Wine / March 8, 2014

Most of us have been there, surrounded by murals and sometimes indoor lattice work, eagerly awaiting our chance to consume an Italian experience. Growing up on bottled tomato sauce and bow ties, eating fried ravioli and chicken parmigiana was a culinary experience.

However, when faced with polenta for the first time it seemed strangely threatening. It did not come out of a can. There was no sausage in it. It was not classifiable under pizza, pasta, or breadstick. My understanding of the food traditions of an ancient country began to crumble.
When buying Italian wine at the store I realized that I faced a similar problem. Nothing under Italy at the grocers but a wall of $10 Chiantis adorned with a stone tower, or some guy on a horse, giving me no clue as to its contents. These wines offered about the same variability in experience as sampling the different Fettuchini Alfredos around town. It was a depressing recurrence. I gave up looking for wine at Italian restaurants and settled for a Peroni. I had nothing against Sangiovese (Italian for ‘the blood of Jove’), but was never in a position to sing its praises. Wondering what was in my orange juice one day, I happened to uncover a gateway into what I had been missing.

Stepping away from the terra cotta and linen pants of tuscany, the northeastern region of ‘Veneto’, surrounding Venice, is one of Italy’s more industrious. And, it happens to export some really great wine. Prosecco happens to be a cheap, food friendly, substitute for champagne. Rather than the expensive “methode champenoise” bottle fermentation process, the Venetians opt for a less yeasty, vat fermented, ready to drink alternative. But I wasn’t looking for a cheap alternative for mimosas. I wanted something I could feast with.

Stinky canals and striped shirted gondola drivers aside, Veneto produces a serious chunk of Italy’s top wines. Valpolicella and Soave are internationally recognized, but keep an eye out for Amarone. This blend of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella is the result of an extensive drying process which leeches the fruit of up to 40% of its water weight.

The end product is a full bodied and complex wine with a very light acidity and a strong flavor of raisins disclosing the method. One of the most expensive bottles to produce on average, this is not a cheap wine, but a fantastic departure from the usual.

Northern Italy has some other great options, heading east, the area of Piedmont is home to one of the wine world’s favorite grapes (this is not about Asti’s Moscato). Nebbiolo, a late ripening pest of a grape to grow, has garnered a cult following with its highly tannic, brightly acidic wines. Two areas producing the most known examples of 100% Nebbiolo varietals are Barolo and its characteristically lighter counterpart Barbaresco.

Both zones are full of different experiences, but watch for older vintages as this wine blossoms with time into beautifully balanced velvet capable of handling some heavy proteins. As with most pastiched veneers of marketing stereotypes, picking a little bit at the surface can reveal some not so hidden treasures.

Story by: Joshua Brock

Written by Muze Collective

Muze Collective

A collaborative collection of alternative lifestyles, creative professionalism, and unique localized opportunities in a globalized society. Arts, culture, music, technology, media, food, fashion, film, photography, sustainability, health, mind, body, soul, and happiness; extraordinary friends doing extraordinary things in their daily lives to make the world a better place, one beautiful piece at a time.






Muze Collective
A collaborative collection of alternative lifestyles, creative professionalism, and unique localized opportunities in a globalized society. Arts, culture, music, technology, media, food, fashion, film, photography, sustainability, health, mind, body, soul, and happiness; extraordinary friends doing extraordinary things in their daily lives to make the world a better place, one beautiful piece at a time.




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