My sister is Eve, the regular author of this blog, and she’s given me password access to the blog to monitor things while she’s in Italy.
Bwahaha (sinister laugh).
First, note the picture to the left of her and me as kids. This is to prove to you, if you can detect the resemblance between her as little kid and her as adult, that I am truly her brother. (You’re going to lose points if you try to compare her adult pic to the pic of me.)
Second, in anticipation of her return from Italy, I thought I’d tell you about my own wine adventure in Italy, a few weeks ago, before she went. I’m hoping for another more knowledgeable perspective from her when she’s back in the blogosphere.
Some background. I’m a shirazoholic. I love them. I’m on a mission to try all of them, and I’m focusing on the cheap ones first. I’m convinced that nice ones show up cheap for a year or so before everybody figures out which new ones are good. Then the price shoots up.
Now I’m not completely chauvinistic. I’ll occasionally drink Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, or on rare occasions a nice cab. And a very good friend of mine, who passed away a few years ago, always urged me to try the blends, so I’ll occasionally wander off the Shiraz reservation into Shiraz-blends.
The problem is that I know diddly about Italian wines and was ill-prepared for my own trip to Italy. The other problem is that, as you can see from the above, I’m pretty entrenched in the “red wine zone”, so my urges to sit out in a cafe in the piazza sipping something red and not chilled were, hm, limited.
As a consequence, I learned virtually nothing new about Italian wines, except that while I do like proseccos a lot, I’m not all that enamored of red wines labeled “frizzante”.
So how did I survive? Well, in the evenings, when we were back in our apartment and it wasn’t a million degrees, I tried various red wines, frizzante and not, trying to find things from our region (Emilia-Romagna) and not finding much to my taste.
On the other hand, my wife and I did discover a drink that we like very much: an aperol spritz. This was the perfect late afternoon, sit-in-cafe-and-watch-tourists-go-by drink. It’s similar to a “wine spritzer” in the US, but the ingredients are: prosecco, soda, aperol (1/3 each).
The last is rather like Campari, but less alcohol, less bitter.
We also discovered that spritz as the name of a mixed drink has its origins in the Austrian rule of Venice, and indeed we saw more of this drink in cafes in and around Venice.
There are several morals to this story:
1. Study up on local wines before you go somewhere.
2. Surely, Eve will have more to say about the northern Italian wine scene than me.
3. There are nice things to drink other than red wine in a piazza in northern Italy.
4. Try an aperol spritz.