07/22/10 – a whole bunch of Italians

By Jesse on July 20, 2010

Jason recently complained to me that he sometimes doesn’t feel like he really knows his way around Italian wine. As a result, we’re having an Italian wine night — not just because I hate hearing Jason complain, but because he makes a good point. Many of us know little more about Italy and its wine scene than that it’s the home of Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, and Sangiovese. Venture into an Italian restaurant with that limited knowledge, and you’re bound to be intimidated by the formidable wine list.

On Wednesday night, we’ll be broadening our knowledge of all things vinous and Italian by tasting some grapes and regions that might not be familiar to everyone. In order to make sure that we skip the clichés, let’s not bring any Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, or Sangiovese (don’t forget, that includes Chianti). Any other varietal is a-ok!

Need some ideas? We’ve tasted assorted Italian wines several times before, so check out those pages for info about some interesting regions and varietals that you can try. Here’s a short list of possibilities:


Pinot Bianco and Traminer have both been tasty in past meetings, as has Arneis from the Piedmont region.
–Wine Enthusiast ran an article in 2008 entitled “The Bottom of the Boot,” all about Southern Italy and the crazy, backwards things they’re doing down there. Try a Greco Bianco from Calabria, or a Falanghina or Fiano from Campania.
–Gary Vaynerchuk loves his Italian whites. Watch one of the past episodes in which he tastes Vernaccia, Gavi, and Tocai Friulano respectively.


Barolo and Barbaresco are both made from the Nebbiolo grape. They’re delicious! Sadly, they’re also expensive.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red made from the Montepulciano grape in the region of Abruzzi (don’t confuse it with the similarly-named Vino nobile de Montepulciano, a wine made in the Tuscan village of Montepulciano from the sangiovese grape).
–Southern Italy is full of delicious reds like Aglianico and Negroamaro that have a nice back-country rustic character to them.
Nero d’Avola, the most important red grape of Sicily, is finally getting the recognition it deserves after decades of being made into rough-edged country wine and used as a blending grape in weak vintages of Chianti.

We’ll be meeting at Jason’s place in Brentwood. To RSVP, simply click “will attend” to the right. On the day of the event, Jason will send you an e-mail with his address.

Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, grab yourself an interesting bottle of Italian wine (or a $10 bill), and put your tasting hat on. See you on Wednesday night!