Friday, 28 June 2013

Women prefer bubbles

No, no, no Marilyn....I totally disagree!!
`Personally I think it'd be tacky to wear a diamond before I'm forty`!!...I'm more a Holly Golithly kind of woman... 

And in the few years left before getting to the `big date`, when I feel girlish or a bit foolish, when I am celebrating something or just want to treat myself, my best friend are bubbles.

Fine bubbles delicately tickling my throat.....                                                                              
....with that elegance that uplifts my cheap sushi on a long tasting day....

...with that sparkle that matches my music on a Friday evening at home....

...and that backbone of acidity that cleanse my palate after a salami plate (when I'm not on a diet!)....

If I only I could say as Madame Lilly Bollinger used to....

`I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty. `


Sunday, 23 June 2013

A glass of wine a day...

Wine has always been part of everyday life and diet in Italy and it is quite common to hear people saying that a glass of wine a day with your meal  is a very good habit.
And there is no doubt about it. Several researches have now proved more than enough that a regular moderate drinking is absolutely not dangerous. On the contrary a lot of substances contained in the wine can have several beneficial effects,as said, if drunk with moderation.
What was once called the French Paradox on a CBS program in the 90's doesn't surprise anymore.
The benefits of wine are now well known. And I could list them all to you, but I am sure you won't find the reading that exciting; going through the beneficial effects of resveratrol or flavonoids etc can be a bit boring....
That's why I much prefer giving you my wine carousel of the week...

MONDAY: ....I hate Mondays. The weekend is too short. Ditto.
I need something that cheers me up, something warm and deep. A wine to wrap me up.
A Vin Santo. From Selvapiana. 2004.

TUESDAY: Already absorbed by the weekly routine. Tuesday night is the best for a good movie and a relaxing glass of Pinot Noir. Fruity, refreshing a with a hint of spices. From Delta.

WEDNESDAY: Tough day, Wednesday. Last weekend is just a memory and next is too far away. I need a wine to remind me what do I love about my job (and wine)....a Pieropan Calvarino. The elegance made Soave. A fresh minerality that it's so easy to drink that one bottle is never enough.

THURSDAY: We're getting there. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I need something easy and simple on Thursday: the freshness of a Picpoul de Pinet, for example.

FRIDAY: The day to celebrate the upcoming weekend with a nice dinner and a nice wine. Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay. Full, round and juicy.

SATURDAY: It's friends time. A lunch out or someone coming over for dinner. A good reason to open a bottle of Renacer Malbec Clasico not only an extraordinary wine with a perfect balance of fruit , tannins, body and price, but also my boyfriend's favourite at the moment!

SUNDAY: Back home is family day. When I was a child the whole family used to reunite at grandparents' house for a good homemade lunch, possibly lasagne. At the time I was not allowed to drink and now I'm too far away from home to enjoy my Sunday the same way. So I'll raise a glass to my memories: a glass of Cesanese del Piglio.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Fine bubbles, made in Italy

In the eternal competition of sparkling wines vs Champagne,  unfortunately, Franciacorta doesn’t really get any special place on the podium, especially in the UK trade.

Probably due to an historical lack of popularity as well as more expensive prices compared to the more famous Cavas and Proseccos, sparkling Franciacortas have only a niche market in Italy and are often very difficult to sell outside their country. 
Most people don’t know the quality of these wines and can’t understand the reason of their quite important prices.

I believe that Franciacorta can be described as the closest cousin of Champagne. And although I think probably most Franciacorta producers, would not like this definition, no one can deny that these wines are the most similar in grape varieties, style, elegance and (most relevant factor in terms of costs) production technique (traditional method with a second fermentation in bottle and long ageing on lees). 

In 1995, the law clarified the distinctions in wine production in the area, by classifying the sparkling wines as DOCG and the still ones under the DOC Terre di Franciacorta.

The area of production, in the province of Brescia, Northern Italy, is characterized by a soil rich in minerals.  The near Iseo lake has quite a strong relevance on the mesoclimate, allowing warm days and cool nights that enhance the development of a good acidity.

The wines can be extremely elegant with complexity of flavours, good structure and fine bubbles. But,as Jancis Robinson states on her Oxford Companion of Wine, 'the production has often been influenced by a variation of quality and only few producers really deserve a mention'.
No doubts one of these is Berlucchi a bit of a pioneer since the '60s, but at the top of my very personal list at the moment is certainly Bellavista. Their Grand Cuvée is a splendid example of fine sparkling wine, totally comparable to a non vintage Champagne.

Top of their production is the Vittorio Moretti named after the founder and owner of the company. A wine of silky texture with persistent very fine bubbles and a backbone of acidity perfectly balanced by its elegant structure.


Don't get too shocked by what I'm about to say, but best food match I can suggest is with mortadella or lardo. 
The full fatness of this charcuterie will be completely cleared by the gentle and fine bubbles of this stylish but underrated wine
(and trust me when I say that this match has been personally tested several times!!!)


Thursday, 6 June 2013

The day after

I believe that there is nothing more exciting and stressing than having a big task; an exam, a project to present, a novel to write, an event to happen or even just a trip. The whole planning and preparation process requires a lot of efforts and concentration. Often it also means sacrificing your personal spare time for the cause and diverting all your energies on it. And you do it because you have to and because part of the pleasure is the everyday struggle to achieve a success.

At last that moment arrive. And what I mean is the moment when everything is over.
The exam is taken.
The presentation is done.
You have put the words `the end` your novel.
Your guests have left the event.
Or you are just on your flight back home.
You probably feel knackered and suddenly your adrenaline goes down and, while feeling relieved, you cannot avoid a sensation of emptiness. I am sure you know what I'm talking about.
It is like instantly loosing the meaning of your actions. All that spare time at once without any particular target. What am I going to do now? What is the next thing? How am I going to spend my time. It doesn't matter that you are tired and just want to rest and relax. You want something else to plan.

Not sure about you, but I know that normally to me this feeling does not last that long and soon I start to think that I need to retrieve what I have lost in the meantime: my spare time.
I need to read, I need to watch a movie, I need to have time to think about something else. Possibly I need to have time to think about what to think.

Today is the day after my exam (a wine one of course) and I have already developed my reaction.
I'm happy that I can read the wine books I want and I can drink the wine I like without necessarily think about what soil and climate have generated those particular flavors. At the end of the day, shouldn't it be about passion?!