02/28/06 – the Tre Venezie

By Jesse on February 28, 2006


This week, we go to Venice.  Ahh, sweet Venice.  The very mention of the word inspires images of swaying palms, dirty beaches, street performers, hippies and rastafarians selling tie-dye shirts, and afternoon flights from Seattle thundering overhead as they descend into LAX.  Ahh, Venice, or “Venizie,” as the Italian immigrants say.

We’ve done Piedmont and Tuscany, and Italy’s last major region of importance (in terms of quality) is the Tre Venezie.  The name means the Three Venices, and it’s actually three regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia (affectionately called “Friuli”), Trentino-Alto Adige, and the Veneto.  While a lot of nice reds are made in the Tre Venezie, the regions are best known for producing some of Italy’s best whites.  So, in the interest of tasting the best, lets stick primarily to whites for Wednesday’s meeting.  If you see a red that looks amazing for some reason, go ahead and pick it up… variety is the spice of life, I think.  Here’s what we should be looking for; I’ll list the three regions, and their important wines.

FRIULI: look for good Pinot Grigios, Pinot Biancos, and Sauvignon Blancs.  Tocai (officially Tocai Friulano) is a grape native to the region which is a big favorite in Friuli.  Sometimes these various grapes are blended to make delicious whites.  Local Chardonnays can be good, but it’s not a sure bet.

TRENTINO-ALTO ADIGE: Chardonnays have the potential to be good — ask your friendly wine dealer to help you avoid the uninteresting ones.  There are good Pinot Grigios and Pinot Biancos.  The local favorite is Traminer, a genetic cousin of the German Gewurztraminer.  All of the wine club members who attended the tasting at Vendome this weekend — I guess “both” would actually be a better word than “all” — tasted a nice Traminer from Trentino-Alto.  Personally, I liked it a lot… someone should bring one.

THE VENETO: this region is famous for mass-producing the high-export white Soave and the reds Valipocella and Bardolino.  Lots of good Pinot Grigios can be found here, as well as the region’s excellent red, Amarone.

Might be a good idea to print this list out and bring it to the wine shop with you, a la Don.  You’ll probably need to this time.  Of course, this list is just a guide…. feel free to bring any wine you find from within the Tre Venezie.

We’ll be meeting at la casa de Andrew, which is at (someplace awesome).  Don’t forget to chill your whites before you come over.  Bring a few extra wine glasses if you think of it, and we’ll see all you crazy children on Wednesday night at 9:00.