Monday, August 29, 2011

Tour Of Italy

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a foodie.  I love to cook all types of food.  Both of my grandmothers were good cooks and I often baked with my maternal grandmother.  I guess things rubbed off.  One of my favorite kinds of food is Italian.  I think I cook that more than anything, especially in the cooler months.  And along with Italian food, you HAVE to have Italian wine.  For a long time I stuck to the two best known varieties…Pinot Grigio and Chianti.  But after looking at the wine list a couple week ago at one of the Italian restaurants in Disney’s Epcot, I realized that there are many more out there.  So, I hit my local store looking for some new Italian wines to try.

I headed to the white section first.  There were quite a few that fit my budget criteria so it was hard to choose.  I ended up choosing one with a cute little bee on the label (you know me and cute labels) that cost $8.99.  Of course, the label was in Italian but it APPEARS the vineyard is called Cren dell’ Ape and the variety is Piemonte Cortese 2009.  Ahh, I DID know that meant it came from Italy’s Piedmont region and I was right.  The back label said the wine was produced from Piedmont’s traditional white grapes.  The nose was very floral and fruity.  I tasted fall fruits like apples and pears with a floral hint in the background.  It was very crisp and light…perfect for a hot Florida summer evening.  After sampling it by itself, I had it along with my dinner…spaghetti with peas and pancetta.  It went well with the goat cheese in the pasta and I think it would also go well with chicken and seafood.  At that price, I’ll definitely be getting it again.

The second bottle I chose is a 2010 Pinot Grigio.  I chose it because it was labeled as one of the stores Top 10 White Wines for summer.  This bottle cost $9.99.  Again, the label was in Italian but I THINK the vineyard is I vigneti di Albino Armani.  It also said the wine was an Alfio Moriconi Selection although I’m not sure what that means.  The back label said the wine comes from the delle Venezie IGT area which is comprised of Veneto, Terntino, Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia.  The grapes come vineyards that have been owned for four centuries.  The wine was very good.  This one also smelled of fall fruit and had a nice crisp flavor with a hint of pear.  The label said the wine id very versatile.  I sampled it alone but I think it would pair well with the same foods as above.  It’S another good wine to sip on a warm summer evening.

The last wine I chose was a red.  This particular wine was on the store’s Top 10 Red Wines for summer.  It is a 2009 Sangiovese from Mantelassi vineyards in the Maremma coastal area of Tuscany.  This bottle also cost $9.99 and indicated it was an Alfio Moriconi Selection as well.  The wine is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and aged in steel tanks.  It was a beautiful ruby red color with the aroma of berries.  The berries came through in the taste along with a bit of earthiness.  It was fruity and well balanced and very easy to drink.  The label recommended pairing it with pasta, pizza and grilled meat so my husband and I tried it with grilled flank steak.  The pairing was wonderful.  I can’t wait to try it with some pasta and homemade tomato sauce.

I am so glad I have branched out beyond the run of the mill Italian wines.  I look forward to trying more and pairing them with some new Italian dishes!

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