Italy has a lot of different wine grapes, and I mean a lot. Some counts put it at more than sixteen hundred different varietals, many with deep roots in the historical record. Here are three unique grapes grown almost exclusively in their own corners of Italy, each one a piece of living history.
I’m often surprised when I sample, on its own, a grape that is more often encountered in a blend. Corvina Veronese is one of three grapes used in the famously rich Amarone, but Corte Gardoni’s rosso is an entirely different expression. A lovely pale ruby color with a juicy cherry and fresh piney note, it’s the perfect substitute for your usual weekday red.
With my secondi at Trattoria Caprini in Italy’s Veneto region, I had a hard time deciding which wine would go best with my straéca di cavallo. There was some Amarone on the table, but I felt it was far too powerful. Luckily, I was sitting next to Giacomo Tincani, winemaker at La Basia, and he poured me a glass of his 2015 Valtènesi. Certo! Medium-bodied, deep red fruit aromas, and perfect with a grilled salt-and-peppered piece of meat. Giddy up!
Maurizio Fiorano is always hard at work every time I visit his tiny cellars in the town of Saint-Pierre, just east of Courmayeur after you traverse the Monte Bianco tunnel coming from France. He is a perfectionist in all aspects of his profession, and it shows in his precise, invigorating mountain wines. This red, produced from the native Fumin grape, has the smoky hints you would expect from a grape with this name. It is Maurizio’s most full-bodied red. The flavors and aromas are uniquely Valdostana, this proud region of stunning peaks that shares French and Italian cultural heritage. I encourage you to buy a few bottles and discover what I mean—you won’t regret it.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
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