What's Cooking at the Genua's?

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Italian Summer Wine Trilogy

on June 20, 2010

Summer is officially here tomorrow. But for most of us it’s been here for weeks already. Especially in Florida. And when the heat of the summer takes over and everyone is enjoying outdoor parties, barbecues, deck parties etc. the last thing we want is a heavy wine. Which many Italian wines can be. But Italy also produces many varieties of lighter more refreshing wines which are perfect for a hot summer day on the veranda! I have only listed three wines which I think are best for the summertime. There are a couple other wines that are less known here in the U.S. and they are pretty hard to find so I will not list them. If I had to choose one of these three over the others, my vote is for Prosecco. Riondo Prosecco is our favorite.


Riondo Prosecco

PROSECCO: My favorite Italian wine for any season is actually a sparkling wine, Prosecco. Prosecco should be on everyone’s summer wine list, in my opinion. It’s made for the most part from the Prosecco grape which grows in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Sometimes the Prosecco grapes are mixed with a small amount of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc grapes as well. Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method that the French use. The Charmat method lets the wine go through the second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in the bottles like champagne is done. No turning the bottles everyday like champagne. This method preserves the freshness and flavor of the Prosecco grapes!

Prosecco Grapes

Prosecco is usually very affordable, light and fun. Much easier on the wallet and palate than Champagne. The fizz in Prosecco is not overwhelming, it’s just right. It is usually dry with citrus (lemon and grapefruit) overtones and just a hint of honey. Did I mention I love Prosecco? You can serve it with pastas with light sauces, fish, seafood, salads etc. Pretty much everything goes with Prosecco if you ask me and John! It should be served well chilled! It’s best to serve Prosecco within 3 years of its vintage date but the higher quality ones can be aged up to seven years! Not in my house! We’re lucky if a bottle lasts a few days before we open it and drink it! The Venetians say Prosecco is an ideal appertivo or ombrette (pick-me-up). Remember you can also add fresh peach nectar to it and make…Bellinis!!! There are many brands on the market in all price ranges from $7+ usually. We have many favorites in all price ranges.


Pinot Grigio Grapes

PINOT GRIGIO: Pinot Grigio is one of the best known Italian white wines. It’s a light, dry wine with an almost lemony flavor with slightly nutty overtones. The Pinot Grigio grapes are also grown in the Veneto region (like Prosecco) as well as the Fruili region, both in northeastern Italy. Pinot Grigio is usually pale in color, almost straw-like and it’s best to drink it close to its vintage year. It’s not a wine you want to age. It’s best served with seafood, light pastas and cheese. I would stay away from acidic dishes such as vinegar-based salad dressing and citrus-based sauces. It’s not a good combo. It’s a great wine to have before dinner. In the United States Pinot Grigio is usually a summer favorite. It’s another wine that is very reasonable in price. You can get a good bottle for as low as $5 or $6 and of course the prices can get much higher.


Trebbiano Grapes

SOAVE: Soave is another well-known Italian white wine here in the United States. When I hear Soave I usually immediately think of Soave Bolla. The Bolla vineyards have made Soave a household name here. Soave is a light, crisp wine. It’s made from the Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grapes that again grown in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy.  I’m sensing a trend here. Soave is produced as a still wine as well as sparkling or sweet wine as well. Most of the imported Soave we get here in the U.S. is the still variety. Soave usually has a slightly green color with very distinct perfume-like tones. It goes great with light pastas, salads or fish. Or just drink it on its own while sitting on the patio relaxing after a long hard day! I tend to favor the Soave over the Pinot Grigio myself.  It’s a little more fruity than the Pinot Grigio which is why I like it. Soave gets its name from a small town nestled among the vine-covered hills in the shadow of a handsome and well-preserved castle. Pretty cool! It is also a wine that should not be aged. Drink it no more than three years from its vintage year.

Garganega Grapes


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