THE WINE CONNECTION
Renaissance means “rebirth,” Another stunning Sicilian
and it’s undeniable that Italy is Nero d’Avola from
has been experi- Morgante. This irresistible
encing anoth er wine is made from a grape
renaissance of late, only variety unique to the
this time it’s not art and island and is matured in
religion that have come oak barrels like a wine
out of the dark ages, but three times its price.
wine. You need only look While we’re in the
at the Wine Spectator’s south, mention must be
2001 Top 100 list ( 18 of made of the Puglia region (Italy’s heel). The young Bacchus, god of wine and rev-
which are Italian wines) to Simply delicious wines are made here from elry, depicted by Michelangelo Merisi da
see that Italy competes on a the local variety Primitivo, one clone of Caravaggio.
level footing with the very best David which is identical to Zinfandel. A great
wines in the world. Andrew example is from a producer called A Mano,
From this art-rich country come
modern masterpieces for the palate
GET TY IMAGES CREATIVE/ THE BRIDGEMAN AR T LIBRARY/MICHELANGELO MERISI DA CARAVAGGIO
Never before has the qual- which means “by hand” or “handmade” in
ity of Italian wine been higher or the range Italian—an apt description for this Shiraz-like
wider. Leading the charge is the region of Veneto, which produces a wide range of
Tuscany, home to Chianti and the “Super- wines. Among the most famous is Val-Tuscans” such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia, but policella. This delicious wine is made from
there are many exciting new wines from “Italian wines are a blend of local varieties: Corvina, Rondi-regions that you may not yet have explored. nella and Molinara. Allegrini makes an excel-
A couple of my current favorites come designed to lent example. Valpolicella is also responsible
from the island of Sardinia, off Italy’s west for Amarone, which is made from the same
coast. Perdera Monica di Sardinia and complement food, grapes, which are dried to concentrate their
Costera Cannonau di Sardinia, both from sugars and flavors, producing a rich and pow-
the producer Argiolas, are wonderful exam- not overpower it.” erful wine.
ples of unique and interesting red wines that Look out, too, for Pinot Grigio from
suit all palates and budgets. Monica and the northeast of Italy. This grape variety is
Cannonau are grape varieties that may sound rapidly gaining ground on Chardonnay as the
unfamiliar now, but I am willing to bet that wine bursting with ripe blackberry fruit. world’s favorite white.
once you try these wines they will become Just above Puglia is the region of Molise, Italian wines are designed to complement
frequent visitors to your table. home to the amazing winery Di Majo Nor- food, not overpower it. Their elegance and
Both wines are soft in texture and ante, whose Sangiovese (the Chianti grape) is finesse allow the flavors of the food to take
medium-full in body, with flavors of ripe packed with ripe berry fruit and aromas center stage while leaving your mouth re-
plum, black cherry and chocolate. of dried herbs and violets. Next door to freshed and ready for the next bite. They are,
From Sicily comes another favorite: the northwest is the region of Lazio, where however, still hearty enough for red meats,
Regaleali Rosso. This famous island off the you’ll find Rome. You’ll also find one of the game and roasts, and at the same time not too
toe of Italy’s boot has been making wine best values in Italian wine: Falesco Vitiano, strong for pasta, poultry and, of course, pizza.
since the fifth century B.C. Today, the a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and So the next time you go to pick up
Regaleali wines come from a state-of-the-art Sangiovese. This wine, which has been tak- your favorite Chianti, spare a thought for
winery in the center of the island. The Rosso ing the United States by storm, is rich, spicy some of Italy’s less well-known regions.
is soft and velvety and medium-bodied, and and amazingly complex for such an inex- The wines might surprise you, and they cer-
tastes of blackberries and cherries with a pensive wine. tainly give their pricier cousins a run for
pinch of pepper. In Italy’s northeast corner is the region of their money! C
FROM THE US ARCHIVES