Monthly Archives: January 2017

Italian Indigenous Varieties: Malvasia Bianca B.

sicily

This week’s variety hails from Southern Italy. It is called Malvasia Bianca B and is a biotype that is not related to other Malvasias. This one grows in Sicily, Calabria, Campania and Puglia, specifically in the provinces of Brindisi, Catanzaro, Cosenza, Crotone, Lecce, Siracusa, Vibo V., Avellino, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Reggio Calabria, Salerno, and Trapani. It is used in the DOCs from Donnici, Savuto, Pollino, S. Anna di Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Melissa, Leverano, Biferno, Cilento, Castel San Lorenzo, Scavigna, Lamezia, San Vito di Luzzi, Verbicaro, and Bivongi. It is also usually blended with other grapes and brings a pleasing roundness and freshness to the blend. Low in alcohol, it does however, retain good acidity.

I am having a hard time writing a wine blog in this period I confess when the news is so fast moving and for me, upsetting. Luckily this week’s grape hails from a place that I wanted to write about anyway. Sicily. Why do I want to write about Sicily? Because of the number of refugees that they are rescuing on a daily basis from the sea. While our government has shut it’s doors and officials appear to have handcuffed a five year old girl, the Italian coast guard off the coast of Sicily have been doing their job and trying humanely to rescue people. Certainly this was unexpected for them and surely not what they want to be doing on a daily basis but when confronted with the level of despair they see, they are going above and beyond. Would that our government had a 100th of the humanity these people are showing. There are so many articles that I could post and videos of people being saved from the sea. Men, women and children who are desperate. Many do not end up with better lives in Italy or Europe so you can imagine how bad it is where they are fleeing from. Those who seem unmoved by the refugee crisis I guess think that could never happen to them or their families or people they love. While that is of course not true as anyone who has lived through a war, a hurricane or other natural disaster can tell you, the ability to put yourself into someone’s shoes even for a moment should be enough. There I have said my piece for today. As the grandchild of refugees from Nazis and pogroms in Russia and Poland, I cannot and will not stay silent.

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Filed under Italian DOC, Italian DOC Wines, Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Sicily

Guest Wine Writer Series | № 11 | Susannah Gold | Falling in Love with The Douro

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™ Inspired stories about wine and taste makers. By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML Continuing the Guest Wine Writer series I initiated in 2016, I’ve invited some of m…

Source: Guest Wine Writer Series | № 11 | Susannah Gold | Falling in Love with The Douro

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Holocaust Remembrance Day: January 27

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Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was instituted in 2005 by the United Nations. I am putting stones, as one does in the Jewish tradition, on the graves of those who perished. These stones in the photos are in the Holocaust Museum in New York City. In the distance you can see the Statue of Liberty.

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Some 80 members of my extended family died in the death camps in Poland and Germany. I am very aware of this fact and of our need to remember and to pay attention to what is happening around us. We can never forget. This article discusses the rising tide of Xenophobia in the US and in Europe. The day after the election, I got off the bus on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and was greeted by a Nazi salute from a young man in his 20s. This cannot be something to make light of. Words matter.

I wonder what Emma Lazarus whose poem is engraved on the Statue of Liberty would make of the current state of affairs in the USA.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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Wine Wednesday: Trabocchetto from Talamonti from Abruzzo

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This week’s Wine Wednesday is dedicated to Abruzzo. A region that has seen its fair share of trouble this month with record snow falls, earthquakes, and an avalanche that claimed the lives of guests at a hotel and yesterday, a helicopter crash during a mountain rescue. It has been on my mind all month and I think of all those who live there. Certainly hardy folk as is evidenced by their long history and often rugged terrain. Luckily this spirit will help move beyond this terrible month and into a better moment in time. I have visited the region but not recently and have never been to their incredible parks, the Gran Sasso and the Maiella. They are also bordered by the Appenines and the Sibylline massif.

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The winery I am writing about today is co-owned by someone I met years ago through a work contact, his father in fact. I have been following the amazing development of the winery these last years and have been impressed with these friendly, reliable wines that present good values as well. Talamonti makes both indigenous and international grapes. I was quite fond of Trabocchetto made from Pecorino. They are located in Loreto Aprutino, an area that has very old soils that are the remains of glaciers and volcanic ash. They are near the “Ghiacciaio del Calderone”, known to be “the southernmost glacier in Europe and the only one in the central Mediterranean area,” according to their website.

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The winery was founded in 2001 by the Di Tonno family. They have 32 hectares in production with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Pecorino and other varietals. They are at 300 meters above sea level in the Tavo Valley region. The wines were all very well made and clean wines. Approachable, food friendly and inviting, I think Talamonti has a long and happy road ahead. I look forward to tasting the new vintages either at Vino or Vinitaly. They are very well distributed and nicely priced. Click here for a link to see if they are near you.
Salute!

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Italian Indigenous Varieties: Malvasia Bianca di Candia (Lazio)

zagarolo

This week’s variety is another Malvasia. It is called Malvasia Bianca di Candia. It’s grows primarily in Lazio but also in Emilia Romagna, Le Marche, Umbria, Tuscany and Liguria. It is also sometimes called Malvasia Rossa because of the color the buds take on. However it must be distinguished from Malvasia di Candia. It likes to grow on hills but can also manage clay and dry soils. It prefers a warm climate. It makes a less aromatic wine than the other Malvasia di Candia. This one makes wines that are straw yellow in color, a tad sality or sapid, with a bitter note on the finish. It is usually blended with other grapes because it tends to oxidize. It is found in wines from Colli di Parma DOC, and often in Cerveteri, Circeo, Colli Lanuvini, Cori, Frascati, Genazzano, Montecomprati Colonna, Gardiolo, and Zagarolo.

lazio

I found this producer, Azienda Viticola Di Marzio who is focused on Malvasia di Candia and Trebbiano Toscano not far from Rome. Apparently they are organic. They write on their website that this variety grows well in dry soils without too much calcareous material. They are located in the town of Lanuvino which is a vulcano.

Fountain in Piazza Navona - Rome

It looks like a winery that I would like to visit the next time I am in Rome. Infact the whole area seems interesting. I have a dear friend who lives in Zagarolo so I have spent a lot of time there but never in the other areas of the Castelli Romani. I look forward to my next trip and to visiting this winery. Not enough is written about wines from Lazio in my view.

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Filed under American Wine, AOC, emilia romagna, Italian Indigenous, Italian regions, lazio, wines

Italian Troubles: Political Crisis and Earthquakes

Miracles do happen. At least six people, including four children were pulled from the wreckage. I am really so happy to have just read this article that I am posting here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/20/italy-avalanche-six-people-found-alive-almost-two-days-hotel/

avvinare

edvard-munch-the-scream-art-print-poster

The scream by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch is such a powerful image that I like to post when something truly shocks, saddens or upsets me. I’m not even talking about the US elections here for I have decided not to write about them on this blog. Yet since I write so much about Italy, a country I consider my second home, I have decided that I can write about other parts of Italy and Italian culture and life that matter to me. For many years I was a political and economic journalist in Italy in the 1990s. Much has changed but much sadly remains the same, just different people running the show.

250px-Italy_provincial_location_map.svg

This is my first post on the topic and today I want to write about the terrible situation in Central Italy as a result of the recent earthquakes and the avalanche that followed and collapsed a hotel in…

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Italian Troubles: Political Crisis and Earthquakes

edvard-munch-the-scream-art-print-poster

The scream by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch is such a powerful image that I like to post when something truly shocks, saddens or upsets me. I’m not even talking about the US elections here for I have decided not to write about them on this blog. Yet since I write so much about Italy, a country I consider my second home, I have decided that I can write about other parts of Italy and Italian culture and life that matter to me. For many years I was a political and economic journalist in Italy in the 1990s. Much has changed but much sadly remains the same, just different people running the show.

250px-Italy_provincial_location_map.svg

This is my first post on the topic and today I want to write about the terrible situation in Central Italy as a result of the recent earthquakes and the avalanche that followed and collapsed a hotel in the region of Abruzzo. At last reading of the news, about 30 people were still missing and feared dead. Many of these people were staff workers at the hotel. Others were vacationers who were on the ritual “settimana bianca.” Central Italy has had the worst snow storms over the last few days in decades, perhaps 35 years I heard on Canale 5 Mediaset last evening. I watch Italian news every night after the PBS newshour. I am often struck at the differences in the way the news is presented and what each speaks about. I also just saw a long talk show hosted by Maurizio Costanzo who together with Bruno Vespa are among the most famous of Italian TV talk show hosts. The entire program was dedicated to why the reconstruction of cities like Amatrice which were destroyed in an earthquake in the fall takes so long and why the city was destroyed in the first place. Everyone mentions comparisons with the buildings in Japan that do withstand earthquakes after they were rebuilt with seismic activity in mind. Central Italy lies on the Apennine mountains. There are corruptions scandals galore following the disaster in Amatrice. A school collapsed which had just been rebuilt, people are still living in tents. The recent snow fall has also robbed the area of electricity and many of the roads are blocked.

Different branches of the Italian armed forces and the Carabinieri are currently in the area trying to aid residents and tourists alike who are trapped in their homes. The situation is very grave and the added issues of corruption and shoddy building materials make it all the sadder. Both the governing party and the opposition are trying to come together to flesh out a new electoral law so that people can vote for the first time in four years. The last elected President was Berlusconi. My hope is that the earthquakes in Central Italy will calm down, that people will be found alive in that hotel and that a new electoral law will be written which will put an end to these musical chairs we are witnessing.

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Filed under Italian Troubles, Musing on Italian Events, Politics, wines