For a perfect Italian inspired end of the summer drink we’re recommending an Italian version of sangria made with Vermentino wine. This crisp white wine from the Mediterranean (Sardenga, Liguria, Corsica, coastal region of Maremma in Tuscany and further north into Liguria and inland to Piedmonte) conjures up images of boats and yachts sailing the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean. Its bright acidity and citrusy flavors make for an endless summer. Light and aromatic, its best food match is seafood and its low alcohol content means you can sip and savor until sunset and beyond.
Mediterranean A-listers navigate a sea of paparazzi along Costa Smeralda with chilled bottles of rare Ligurian Vermentino but you can party like a rock star spending much less. A high end Vermentino can be pricey but you can buy a good bottle of Sardinian sun for less than $20.00.
It doesn’t take me more than 30 seconds to think about one of my favorite Italian wines from the hills of Piacenza. Appreciated by popes and kings and those who would be including Napoleon, Michelangelo and me.
Colli Piacentini Gutturnio is made from two of my cousin Roberto’s favorite grapes, Barbera (70%) and Bonarda (30%). It has a brilliant ruby red color with shades of purple red and an aroma of dried cherries and spice. Because it is little known outside of Italy and often overshadowed by the wines of Tuscany, this wine may not be as familiar as a Chianti, Brunello or a Super Tuscan but well worth your consideration.I had this wine at an afternoon meal in the medievale taverna of Castello di Gropparello with cheese and laurel, tortellini, pork and a chocolate semifreddo for dessert, made in the castle kitchen. Molto buono.
In Italy the grape harvest (la vendemmia) begins in the early to mid-Fall usually during September and October. Every region of Italy grows grapes and the cities, towns and villages across the country celebrate the harvest with grape festivals (sagre) making Autumn one of the best times and seasons to see and savor Italy. I will not be in Italy this year until the end of October when my friends at Tenuta Vitanza near Montalcino in Tuscany tell me I will only be able to pick grape juice! Che peccato! My only vendemmia this year will be virtual.
Here are a few favorite Italian grapes that are part of my virtual pick. To find out why click here.