I get many requests asking me what wine to bring to a friend’s dinner party, what wine to serve at a wedding, what wine to give as a gift when the only information they have is the person likes either Red or White Wine but they don’t know if they like Dry Wine, Fruity Wines, Sweet Wines. From France, Spain and Portugal, The Reds can be on the Tobacco Side with the Tannins (The Dryness on the back of your Tongue caused by the Skins, Seeds and Stems of The Grapes) being very harsh. American Wines from either California (I still get HIVES when I say that State’s Name as you all know by now I am NOT A Big Fan) Or Washington are very generic grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir. So what’s your best choice?? In my Opinion Italian Wine is the way to go!!
As you can see by The Map above, the Country of Italy is shaped like a Boot. So many different grape varietals from the different regions that produce Whites, Reds, Roses, and Sparkling Wines from Indigenous Ancient Grape Varietals. Your options for your personal needs are Wide Open as well. For example in Tuscany the main red grape varietal is Sangiovese. Sangiovese is used in the Chianti Region, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and in Super Tuscans. Hold on a second!! I’m Starting to sound like one of Those Stuck Up Wine Blog Writers Back To Speaking Plain English (Sorry about that) Sangiovese is a grape varietal that has flavors of Tart sometimes Sour Cherry and could have some strong Tannins (Dryness) and Earthiness…There that sounds a little bit simpler to Understand Here’s how your Options are open. Maybe you are going to a dinner party where you know the exact food being served and a Chianti or Brunello would be a great choice to bring. If you are like Most you have NO CLUE and just want to bring a SAFE BET Wine that everyone will enjoy My Friend Fernando Cattani and his son Giovanni in Cortona (Where they made the movie Under The Tuscan Sun) believes that Sangiovese needs 15%-20% “LOVE” from another Grape Varietal to soften up that dryness and add some silky complex flavors to the mix. He uses Syrah, Cabernet Savignon and Merlot. Now you have a nice $12-$15 bottle of Red Wine that you can drink by itself, goes with many types of cuisines and pretty much is a SAFE BET when bringing a wine as a gesture to someone or as a Gift no matter if they are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvingon, Pinot Noir or Zinfandel Lovers.
When it comes to White Wines, No One does it better than the Italians. Hundreds of choices (BELIEVE IT OR NOT PINOT GRIGIO IS NOT ONE OF THEM). Grapes like Garganega used in SOAVE (A Region In Verona) Fiano di Avellino, Greco Di Tufo (From South In Campania, Insolia (Sicily), Cortese (Piedmont), Grechetto, Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdello, (Varietals used in Orvieto From the Umbria Region) are so light, crisp, not too Dry, not too Fruity White Wines, that are pretty much a Home Run no matter what People are used to drinking in a White Wine.
Last but Never LEAST, I can not write this Blog Entry about Italy without mentioning my #1 Area for USER FRIENDLY Wines which is on the Heel Of The Boot on the Map facing the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Puglia and Manduria To Pour at a Wedding, To Bring To A Home, To Give As A Gift, The Grape Varietals of Primitivo (Zinfandel in America) Negramaro, Malvasia Nera, Sussumaniello, Are So EASY TO DRINK (Actually, too easy to drink) and affordable you just can’t go wrong with a Wine from this Area. Food Versatile, No Harsh Tannins, Old Vine Juicy Fruits, Silky Textures.
We make many Acquaintances in Life but we learn as we get older, that they were only Acquaintances and not a Friend. Everyone needs a Friend especially a Best Friend. A Best Friend is someone you can always Count On, Will Always Be There for YOU when you need them, and the same goes true for a Wine Producing Region. I believe all of the above is true of the Wines From Italy. France, Spain, California, Washington State, Argentina, Chile, Australia will become only ACQUAINTANCES but ITALIAN WINE WILL BE YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND!! Cin Cin!!