Vino del Sud

08/30/2009 - 16:41

Ciao!  September is almost here and with it comes the wonderful grape harvast known as vendemmia in Italy.  I have a question regarding Italian wines...I love wine and consider myself to be somewhat of a foodie, but I would love to know if anyone has any suggestions for some Southern Italian wines that can be purchased in the states...In particular, Ohio.  My family is from Calabria and I would love to try some Calabrese wines and maybe even some from near Abruzzo.  I would appreciate any suggestions..Thank you for reading my post.


Ciao! I do not know of any Italian wine merchants in Ohio, but there are plenty in California, particularly in the San Francisco area and also in New York.Regarding wines from Calabria, although some 30,000 hectares of vines are cultivated, their wines are not as widely known as the ones from other regions. Probably they do have some problems with marketing and I do know that they lost quite a few workers specialised in wine production in the 60´s as they had better living conditions and salaries elsewhere.Nevertheless, Calabria produces some interesting wines and they have been acknowledged since ancient times for its grapes and wine. The Greeks used to call Calabria "Enotria", the land of wine, and a glass of the Calabrian wine Cirò was served to the winners at the original Olympic games.Just to give you an idea of some denominations you can find, these will be, besides the already mentioned Cirò, the ones called Pollino, Savuto, Greco di Bianco, Lamezzia, Sant' Anna di Isola, Capo Rizzuto and Melissa. Only small quantities are exported and for this reason it may not be an easy task to find them in the USA.Abruzzo´s wines are easier  to find and I am sure that members from that region will be delighted to give you information about them.Try to find an Italian club in your area, they may have valuable information regarding where to find products.Happy wine hunting! 

Ciao Gala, Thank you so very much for your interesting post regarding the history of Calabrian wine!  I will follow your suggestion and ask the members of my Italian club.   Wines can be intimidating if one is a beginner.  I want to develop a great palate, but I am afraid currently my palate may  not be so sophisticated.  I have started reading about wines.  I have purchased wine guides and just overall books explaining the production of wines.  Perhaps the best way to learn is by tasting.  If anyone has any favorite Italian wines that are available in the US,  I would love to hear about them. 

The most common wine in Abruzzo is the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (not to be confused with Rosso di Montepulciano which is completely different and not from Abruzzo).  A fine dry rose is made from the same grapes and is called Cerasuolo.I've found it to be widely available around the UK in supermarkets, etc., so perhaps it is also available in the US?  One of the biggest exporting cantinas is Masciarelli (in particular try the Marina Cvetic).  Some other good ones to look out for are Pietrantonj (everyday) and Filomusi Guelfi (special).I've got good deals buying over Ebay in the past, so you could try that too. 

Today I was really in the mood for artichokes dipped in butter.  I have had them before and love the taste of them  I bought an artichoke and placed it into a pot  of water with a little bit of vinegar so that it will not discolor.  I boiled it for about an hour and turned it every so often so that it would cook evenly.  The outer leaves seemed to fall off of the choke so I assumed that it was finished.  When I placed it onto a plate and tore the first still tasted like a hard leave.  I had trimmed it and removed the outer most leaves prior to cooking it.  The artichoke tasted awful.  I made a hollandaise sauce and melted some butter to go with it..  I ended up purchasing frozen artichokes.  Does anyone know the proper way to prepare artichokes?  I would love to make them at home and not purchase frozen ones. 

There is a method to cook artichokes. You have to trim them getting rid of the dark, external leaves and cut off the spiky tops. Also, cut off the stems, but do not throw them away. Trim them with a vegetable peeler getting rid of all the hard, stringy bits.Rub the artichokes and the stems with the cut side of a lemon and boil them in plenty of salted water, adding the pieces of lemon you have used.Then, they are ready for any style of preparation.