Italian Wine

pilchard Image
09/28/2012 - 18:29

I was just reminiscing to myself about a particular time on our "Grand Tour" when we were visiting a place in Tuscany called Bolgheri. Most people would never have heard of it let alone visited it. The only reason we went there was because of the wine. We'd never tried it. We hadn't heard of it. But it was in the guide & it sounded very interesting.There are all sorts of tourist guides to Italy, some of which we used, but two of the most useful guides we had were the Gambero Rosso "Italian Wines" & the "Guida Oro - I Vini Di Veronelli". We used to always refer to these two guides when we got to a new area & I'd thoroughly recommend this alternative type of exploration if you really want to get off the beaten track in Italy. The Gambero Rosso is translated to English but unfortunately the Veronelli is not. The Veronelli is in many respects a far better guide.You just select a few vineyards that have a particularly high quality/value for money rating & set off. Sometimes they are closed but rarely is the journey uninteresting. Usually they are open. Some are fully geared up to the prospect of people cold-calling at their little tasting rooms, others are completely happy to stop work & take you on a mini tour of the premises. One guy up in Friuli, wearing worn jeans & wellies had us even helping out in the cantina then sat us down round his kitchen table with bread & oil & insisted we try every wine he produced. He was absolutely charming but was himself charmed that we had tried his wine in a restaurant in Cortina & had decided to search him out.Although it's usually on a less "party" basis you still have to keep a firm grip on yourself otherwise you'll be having an interesting drive back to wherever you are staying & you never leave without buying a few bottles. Everyone is enthusiastic about their products, often also selling their own oil, balsamic & even a full range of seasonal fruit & veg. Sure, the prestige ones don't do that but its surprising how approachable & friendly they can be & we have stood & shared glasses & sighs of approval with many padrone of prestigious wine houses. One old guy, who I took to be some kind of respected or at least tolerated village gent in a worn jacket & shiny trousers, just hanging around sunning himself, ended up giving me two mixed cases of wine because I casually got chatting to him & told him that I thought the wines of this Cantina were the best in the region. He was the owner! It was HIS Cantina! I hadn't a clue.Moments like these, with people that rarely see a foreigner, sharing their passions & their company are some of the gold that I will always remember about Italy. Buy the guides & try it.Pilch


Thank you so much for recommending these two guides, Pilch.  My husband is a real wine aficionado and we are always on the hunt for good vineyards when we come over.  He also makes his own wine and really enjoys speaking with the owners so that he can improve upon his technique.  Up until now, we had just done internet searches before our trip and spoken with locals about places to visit so these books will give us further places to discover.  Thanks again!