This summer, we attended a dinner Phil Stefani's at where we tried wines from the Veneto region of Italy. This little-known region of Italy is producing some amazing wine, including the already-popular Prosecco. But--hopefully--some of the lesser known wines of the region such as Amarone della Valpolicella, Bardolino, and Soave will become popular in the US.
The Veneto region, which has a rich history in winemaking, is located between Lake Garda and the Adriatic Sea, just south of the Dolomitic peaks that introduce the Alps. Twenty percent of all Italian D.O.C. wines come from this region.
Until this dinner, we had only tried three of the wines from this region: Prosecco (of course! one of my favs); Soave (a newer wine to me but I'm already in love); and Amarone (one of He Sips favorites that he learned about during his International Sommelier Guild days). We had the pleasure of trying three more wines from this region, which I've listed here with some brief tasting notes:
1. Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene Conegliano DOCG, LA FARRA
This was served pre-dinner with passed appetizers, and--no surprise--it went down easy. Effervescent with a clean finish. Fruity on the nose. Great for these final days of summer.
2. Lison DOC, MOLETTO, Classico 2009
White wine of a pale straw color. Well-balanced. Very floral on the nose. Hint of sweetness. A very different wine--in a good way!
3. Friularo Bagnoli DOC, SANSOVINO VIGNETI E CANTINE 2005
Red. Full-bodied with hints of cherries and spices. A great wine with food.
4. Amarone della Valpolicella DOC, CORTE RUGOLIN Classico 2006 Crosara de le Strie
Deep red in color. Smooth finish with lots of fruit. A great wine to age.
5. Recioto di Gambellara DOCG, CANTINA DI GAMBELLARA classico
A dessert wine made from the same grape as Soave. Very floral with hints of orange blossoms.
While some of these specific wines might not be available in Chicago yet (wines of Veneto are working on this), hopefully they will be soon; however, in the meantime, try to find the grape varietals at your local wine shop (LUSH is always a good one to try) or even Binny's. Branch out. Try something other than Chardonnay. And, frankly, saying you like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs is not that original any more (not that there's anything wrong with that varietal from that region; we love it too!).