Thursday, January 27, 2011

Italian Wine Country - Insider's Take From Piedmont, Italy

Guest Writer: Anna Savino
from Saluzzo, Piedmont, Italy--- it's been almost six years in Italy...never thought I'd get married to a Piemontese but I am so happy to share my culinary, geographical and cultural discoveries of this beautiful Italian landscape!

Growing up, I always felt Italian. Proudly raised in an Italian American family and hearing about my parent's one year adventure in Rome was just the start of my serious relationship with Italy. I guess I can call myself lucky that I grew up in Napa Valley surrounded by beautiful vine covered hills, some of the best restaurants in the USA and embracing a standard of refined food and wine from a young age.

This made my transition to Piemonte, Italy, a bit easier. I already knew the proper pronunciation of words like Sangiovese and gnocchi and the differences between pecorino romano e parmigiano reggiano.

I remember when I first got to THIS new wine valley without any knowledge of Piemontese wines I was frustrated, wanting to learn in a hurry. I tried to visit enoteca regionali in towns like Barolo and Barbaresco, and read 500 page books on Italian wine. Nevertheless, I had to let time take its course and truly experience the wines to learn about them.

After 6 years of living in Piemonte, names like Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Barbera seem like old familiar friends. While I am no expert in wines (when I left home I was barely of drinking age!), I am passionate about them.

One noteworthy Piemontese wine deserves the spotlight: Barbera (bar-bear-ah). Even in Italy, it has suffered scandals in its past, and was taken advantage of for its yielding capabilities. Barbera traveled across the ocean to the New World as so many of our ancestors did, making its way into the American wine world. Initially, it was only partly accepted, used for blends and mass produced wines. As an American expat like myself is starting to fit in here, Barbera is finding its place in America. It is finally being appreciated for what it is, has developed finer wine making techniques and has turned into a “superior” red wine!

What better way to experience and learn about this wine than take part in an event presenting 5 Italian Barberas and 5 American ones. The anxiously awaited #barbera2 event will take place right here on Barbera's originating land of Nizza Monferrato Asti. Where winemakers, wine lovers, journalists and artists can solidify century old bonds through passion and wine. Likewise, on the other side of the ocean, there will be the #barberafestival where you can learn more about this versatile and vivacious red wine in California! Salute with un buon bicchiere di barbera!

Anna blogs from Italy:

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