From Veneto and Emilia Romagna, Wines That Emerge from the Shadows

imageItaly’s Veneto region, the plains of which stretch from the Adriatic shores of the Venetian mainland through the fertile farmland of the Po river valley, is practically one large vineyard. In terms of sheer volume produced, it ranks third behind Puglia and Sicily; but in terms of “quality” wine (i.e. that accorded DOC [Denominazione d’Origine Controllata] status), its output has no peers, producing more than 20% of the nation’s total. It can safely be assumed that winegrowing here dates back at least to Roman times, but the sheer vastness of vine plantation and wine production in the region is a relatively recent phenomenon, tracking to some extent the importance of Venice on the world stage. In addition to producing world-famous wines like Prosecco and Amarone, Veneto is also known among wine geeks for Soave and Cabernet blends.

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Tonight, we’re drinking adventurously with wines from Puglia and Emilia Romagna. Join us, 4-7!

Tonight, we’re drinking adventurously with wines from Puglia and Emilia Romagna. Join us, 4-7!

Just a lil’ ol’ Sonoma #Syrah, but oh, so good.

Just a lil’ ol’ Sonoma #Syrah, but oh, so good.

All About Champagne!

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For lacy, effervescent moments, Prosecco has its special place. Sparkling Vouvray is certainly distinguished, and we recently enjoyed a superb Crémant de Bourgogne. But when talking about sparkling wine, let’s be honest: There is Champagne and there is everything else.

Champagne — from the eponymous region, as opposed to pretenders who bottle so-called Champagne elsewhere — represents only 10 percent of worldwide production of sparkling wine. Because of some distinctive geographical and geological characteristics of the region, blending is often essential. For starters, there is the climate — cool and relatively wet for a wine-growing region. Then there is the soil, which in many places barely covers the chalky bedrock. That gives Champagnes their steely sophistication, while other sparkling wines are fruitier and flabbier. Even within Champagne, however, there are variations. The Côte des Blancs, south of Épernay, has the chalkiest soil; chardonnay thrives there. The area known as the Montagne de Reims favors Pinot Noir, which is also grown in a southerly Champagne outcrop, the Côte des Bar. In the Vallée de la Marne, which stretches westward toward Paris, where there is more clay and sand in the soil, Champagne’s least appreciated variety, pinot meunier, holds sway.

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Believe it or not, this hard-to-pronounce wine from Italy’s northernmost wine region = pure joy. #altoadige #gewurztraminer

Believe it or not, this hard-to-pronounce wine from Italy’s northernmost wine region = pure joy. #altoadige #gewurztraminer

One word: phenomenal.

One word: phenomenal.

A spicy, flamboyantly fragrant Mascalese from one of the most exciting regions in the world: Sicily! Very bright and energetic.

A spicy, flamboyantly fragrant Mascalese from one of the most exciting regions in the world: Sicily! Very bright and energetic.

"Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of February 21-27, 1993, as ‘American Wine Appreciation Week.’ I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities." 

"Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of February 21-27, 1993, as ‘American Wine Appreciation Week.’ I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities." 

New season, new sign: will you be our Valentine? #vino #laboroflove

New season, new sign: will you be our Valentine? #vino #laboroflove

If, for some reason you haven’t tried South African wine, I consider this Pinotage blend a delicious introduction.

If, for some reason you haven’t tried South African wine, I consider this Pinotage blend a delicious introduction.