I recently returned from a two-week jaunt through Italy – one of the world’s leading producers of wine. This was a pleasure trip for me; I haven’t had a real vacation in years. Why Italy? First, my mother’s family is Italian. Capisce? Secondly, I not only wanted to jump the pond that is the Atlantic, but I also wanted to try some of the glory that is Italian wine that we don’t get enough of in our North American (Canadian) market.
I found myself enjoying a few glasses of some not-worthy-to-be-talked-about-in-detail red on the flight over the Atlantic, since I was finally on a holiday. It’s all they had! What do you want me to say? Okay fine. Here’s my tasting note: it was red. However, my first few nights on holiday dining in Ostia Antica’s beautiful beach-side restaurants proved to me that I was about to take on a food & wine adventure.
My housemate, Kat, and I landed our first real meal deal at a beachfront property on the western coast of Italy just outside of Rome. We enjoyed local Roman-inspired dishes like vegetable risotto with zucchini flowers and saltimbocca (a dish that consists of wine or saltwater marinated veal, prosciutto, and sage). To pair with it, I chose a Vermentino Di Sardegna called “Nord Est” from Cantina del Vermentino. This crisp and clean white went down easily under the hot Roman sun. It didn’t overpower the food, and the food definitely didn’t overpower the wine. This bottle of beauty had gorgeous citrus notes with hints of lime zest, light herbaceousness, and that salty almond skin note that you would expect. While we weren’t on the island of Sardinia enjoying this wine, we at least sat facing the island from the mainland while sipping it.
The following evening in Ostia Antica, we ate at this quaint little ristorante called, “Il Peccat Originale” which translates into Original Sin. Our experience here was actually pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself. We innocently sat at our window-side table and ate and drank until we were sure we would have to roll ourselves back to the cottage we were staying at. Here we enjoyed a 2013 Cantina Colosi Grillo IGT from Sicily. As soon as I saw Grillo on the wine list, I was very excited! (Again, we don’t see a lot of Grillo in Vancouver.) Lemon, stone fruits (white peach & hints of nectarine), whispers of melon rind and star fruit all drifted from the glass with some aeration. The palate was dry, with a medium body, and was less fruit-oriented, but had interesting green apple and yellow plum notes with a kickback of herbaceousness and minerality. I’ll take another bottle! I get it now. This is where the oh-so-sinful aspect comes in.
In Part II, I’ll revisit my wine adventures in the Veneto and Florence regions (including a visit to an organic & biodynamic Chianti vineyard). Bubbles are on the horizon!