Monday, January 27, 2014

What To Expect from Italian Wine?

We might not know all there is to know about Italian wines, but when we think of the food culture that surrounds them, the image of boisterous family meals springs to mind. While our personal expectation for a French wine is to be nuanced and refined, we think of Italian wines as bold and aggressive.

Apparently, we were not completely off base in our assumptions. Barolos from the best producers are powerful, flavor-filled wines that can retain a punch after decades of aging. Many of the whites are bracingly acidic, even in the warm Mediterranean climate. But in the North, as the seaside gives way to the foothills of the Alps, Italy is a very different place for wine.

In our exploration of Italian wine, we picked up a few bottles from the Alto Adige region. The first bottle we tried was something unexpected, a red more in line with the cold climate wines we know. Then, two bottles from the same producer gave us a chance to learn a little bit more. A light bodied red, full of big and bold fruit flavors with an undertone of minerality...but still "light bodied." The white wine was not such a surprise: a bright and mouth watering wine with delicate flavors.

It seems that, while we thought we had a general idea of what to expect, we learned there can be a wide range of wine styles within even a small countries borders.

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