An Italian Wine Blog That’s Worth the Time
July 1, 2015
Continuing on the theme of Italian wine from two weeks ago, I’ve been reminiscing about a brief stay on Lake Maggiore a few years back when I discovered some interesting wines. Gattinara and to a lesser extent Ghemme, products of the fickle Nebbiolo grape grown in the relatively chilly environment of northern Piedmont, have been said to rival Barolo in longevity in their best years. However, this area is off the tourist path and is not known for wine. I love trying these regional gems, with their shades of uniqueness provided by the addition of small percentages of indigenous grapes. Both Gattinara (with DOCG status since 1990) and Ghemme (DOCG since 1997) must be 90% Nebbiolo, but can also have up to 10% Bonarda and up to 4% Vespolina. Bonarda was nearly wiped out by phylloxera in the 19th century, and the vines are rare now. The grape adds aromatics to the blend.
I have learned so much about more obscure yet delicious wines from Alfonso Cevola’s blog, On the Wine Trail in Italy. Cevola is a funny, frequent blogger whose insight into the life of dual citizenship and adoration of good wine I find fascinating. Some of you know that I’m a big fan of wines from northeastern Italy, where I lived for many years and where our home is located. The region is called Friuli Venezia Giulia, and the blue ribbon corner from a wine perspective is called Collio, Italian for “hill“. See the photo above. To me, it resembles Tuscany with more majestic mountains, more pristine landscapes, fewer tourists, and white wines that are several tiers above the best that Tuscany produces. And to boot, even a few knock-out reds. Cevola’s article Colli Orientali Flashback provides a poignant, personal view of that corner of Italy.
After reading about Alfonso’s visit to the Friuli region as a newlywed with the wife whom he lost to cancer years later, I found myself reminiscing about our many weekends there during the six years that my husband and I spent in the region. He mentions Walter Filiputti; what a character, and how lucky I was to be his guest 14 years ago at their little corner of the absolutely unique Abbazia di Rosazzo . Patrizia Filiputti prepared one of the finest seafood meals in memory. The comments to Alfonso’s article provide some insight into all the changes that have affected Walter and his wines over the past decade. In any case, enjoy Alfonso. Even the list of “old favorites” titles (think Sicily~Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Calabria~The Legacy of Local , Assisi~from the Heart, Eugenio Spinozzi~Buon Anima , My Two Sisters, Nebbiolo & Sangiovese ) just make me want to settle down with a glass of Barolo (why not?!) and while away a dreary afternoon!
In closing, a recent quote from Cevola that sums up beautifully my thoughts in light of the recent tragedy in South Carolina:
Do you have a lifelong quest? What about life in this world lights up your spirit? Is there some thing, whether it be objective or subjective, that keeps your heart pumping blood through your veins? I hope so, for your sake. We’ve seen too much in this world, lately, of souls who have no greater purpose. And when those dark things happen, our world stumbles.