Winery of the Month
We will be tasting these wines on Labor Day from 5-7:30
For September we are going to travel to the far North to the region of Alto Adige. The region has one of the most complicated histories imaginable. At one point it was controlled by The Romans, Germanic Tribes, Charlegmane, Holy Roman Empire, various Counts and Duchy’s, The Hapsburgs, Bavaria, The Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, Austria, Italy, Mussolini’s Italy, Germany, and then back to Italy. As one can imagine this caused quite the headache in the region. Most of the population is German speaking and after WW1 there were problems integrating this populous into Italy.
For August we are going to the happy land. This region gets its name from the Latin Campania Felix. This phrase roughly translates to happy land. Campania makes up the lower shin of the boot. The regions history dates back almost as far as recorded history. It is home to the most famous wine of Rome, Falernian. This wine was so renowned that there are literally hundreds of surviving writings about it, including a vintage chart.
For July we are going to Emilia-Romagna and Azienda Agricola Giovanna Madonia. The region is a joining of two historic regions. Emilia got its name from the Roman road connecting Rimini to Piacenza, the Via Aemilia which was finished in 187BCE and amazingly parts of it are still in use today. Romagna comes from Romania which is what the Lombards called the Eastern Roman Empire. Today the region is one of the wealthiest in all of Europe.
Valle d’Aosta is the least populated region of Italy with only about 130,000 people living there. It was founded around 25 BCE when the Romans conquered the Salassi. The mountain passes were very important to the Romans and they built many roads and bridges through the mountains. When Rome fell, Aosta became part of the Burgundian and Frankish kingdoms.
How would you like to have a vineyard on the most active volcano in Europe? This is the situation for producers on Mt Etna. While the volcano exists in a constant state of activity there are a lot of advantages to producing wine here. Not surprisingly the soils are volcanic and very mineral rich.
For March, we have chosen the region that produces the most wine in all of Italy. No, it is not Tuscany or Piedmont. It is the Veneto. This volume stems from two main commercial successes; Prosecco and Valpolicella. We will focus on Valpolicella. Valpolicella means “valley of the many cellars.” Only red wines are allowed to be produced under the name Valpolicella.
What wines do you think of when someone mentions Tuscany? Most people think of Chianti and Brunello, but there are over 40 other wine producing regions in Tuscany. So for February we thought we would feature some of these less known regions.
Every year in December Wine Spectator Magazine comes out with their Top 100 wines that they reviewed for the year. So, we decided to showcase some of these. Casanova Di Neri is considered among the Brunello elite. Started in 1971 it has since expanded to around 138 acres.
For November we are going to the North West of Italy, and the Piedmont region of Italy. Within Piedmont there are many famous sub-regions, but we are going to focus on the D.O.C.G. of Barolo. The region takes its name from a small town lying just south west of Alba.
For October we will stay on the east coast but head North to Valpolicella. Here we come across a family that has changed the wine making for an entire region. The Allegrini family has been involved with wine since the 16th century, but their fame stems from loss. the Patriarch of the Family, Giovanni, passed. The siblings Marilisa, Walter, and Franco took the reins.
This month we are heading to the central east coast of Italy, and the up and coming region of Abruzzo. It is here that we have one of the fastest rising wineries in Italy, Masciarelli. The winery was started in 1981 to prove that the montepulciano grapes grown in Abruzzo could produce wine as good as anywhere else in the world.
This month takes us to the far north-east of Italy in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. From here come what are considered the best white wines from Italy and some interesting reds. The main white varietal is Friulano which used to be called Tokai Friulano but the Tokai was dropped so as not to confuse it with the Hungarian wine region of the same name.