Even if Lago di Garda stretches across three Italian regions—Lombardy to the west, Veneto to the east, and Trentino Alto Adige to the north—each guards its regional differences zealously, as do all Italian regions, especially when it comes to food. Because we couldn’t take into account the different regional varieties in this short piece on local gastronomy, we chose to concentrate on Veneto.
Last May the Wine Media Guild, an association of wine writers, organized a tasting and lunch featuring the red wines of Sicily. I am the co-chair of the organization and was the member sponsor of this event. The wines were from all over the island and ranged in price for $12.99 to $159.99.
Aglianico is a black grape grown in Southern Italy, mainly in Campania and Basilicata. In Basilicata it is made into a wine called Aglianico del Vulture, because the best vineyards are located in and around Mount Vulture, the extinct volcano in the northern area of the province of Potenza. The wine was awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1971 and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status in 2011. It is the region’s only DOCG wine.
When I worked as the wine director for I Trulli Restaurant and Enoteca in New York City, we offered many wines from the region of Puglia. Located in the heel of the Italian “boot”, Puglia borders on the Adriatic Sea.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red wine made in the ruggedly mountainous region of Abruzzo in east-central Italy. It should not be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a similarly named wine made in Tuscany.
Wine expert Charles Scicolone explains why Sourhern Italian wines have long been undervalued and not well known in the US. First, they are made from unusual grape varieties that are not recognized by most consumers. Second, most American tourists used to visit Northern and Central Italy and had little chance to sample these wines in the places they are made. The situation, however is changing as more and more customers are coming to realize that these are high quality wines—and they go very well with food!
Piedmont, located in the northwest corner of the Italian peninsula, is known for the production of great wines. Among the most famous of these wines is Barolo, often called the “king of wines and the wine of kings.”
Some of Southern Italy’s most interesting white wines come from the Campania region. One of my favorite whites is Fiano di Avellino, a DOCG wine made from the Fiano grape. In Naples it is a top choice to go with many local dishes, especially seafood.