Earlier this week, I had the great opportunity to taste some grape varietals that I either had a long time ago while I visited Italy or never had at all. I have to admit, some of them, I never even heard off before. As we tasted thru the first flight of eight wines, I couldn't help myself but to notice that what is happening in the wine world, especially in "old world" wine countries, is the same what is happening here in the United States with beer. All these Micro-brews from all over the country and more and more people finally turning their back to the Budweiser and Miller lite’s of this world! By the way - Bravo!!!
But back to the wine - isn't it interesting how things always come back at you? I mean, first we rip all the old indigenous grape varietals out of the ground, so that we can replace it with
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay et cetera and now we climb over other people fences to find those old indigenous grapes; ask them for clippings and replant them! And those wines won't have to hide, they should never fallen of the radar to begin with. To name an example, I had a wine from wine-maker and owner Arianna Occipinti. The red wine which was made from a grape called Frappato, was simply amazing. Great concentration on the color with coriander and orange peel on the nose, followed by notes of cherry and some old world terroir. What an eye opening experience. Where is this wine from? Just like the already more known Nero d'Avola, it grows in Sicily. I can't wait to get my hands on more.
Another interesting wine was the Terre del Principe Centomoggia which is made by a lawyer named Peppe Manini who is passionate about wine. While growing up in the region of Campania, he spend a great deal of time with his grandfather who taught him about local indigenous vines such as Pallagrello Nero of which the above wine is made from. A varietal that many thought no longer existed.
I could and maybe even should list all these other varietals that are on their debut for a comeback, but with over 1000 indigenous grape vines just in Italy, that would take bit too long.
But not only are young wine makers in Italy rediscovering old vines that most thought no longer existed, some also are bringing back old style wine making. One of those examples is Elisabetta Foradori. She is experimenting with wines aged in anfora’s which takes wine making to a whole different level. Furthermore, she also uses indigenous grape vines such as teroldego which is a relative of Syrah.
I have been invited for a special "Tour of Europe" event next month and really look forward to meet lots of these exciting wine makers and taste the more wine that I never had before.
Tschau! Happy Holidays…