Opera buffs may recognize Marzemino as Don Giovanni’s drink of choice in the great Mozart opera. It’s a very old varietal with roots in the Veneto, where, probably not coincidentally, Don Giovanni librettist Lorenzo da Ponte lived and worked. From there it spread to other nearby regions, including Lake Garda. You need not share the full range of the randy don’s appetites to enjoy this dark fruited red. A hankering for salumi, olives, and a hard sheep milk cheese will do.
La Basia was founded by the late Elena Parona, an agronomist who transformed the humble country estate into a vibrant farm producing many other artisanal products in addition to wines made from indigenous grapes. Elena’s son Giacomo, who now runs the winemaking operation, is equally passionate about preserving local traditions and continues to bottle hand-crafted wines from the western shores of Lake Garda. These straightforward, pleasure-filled wines are a testament to the potential of this unheralded region as well as to Giacomo’s passion for the family farm.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171