I have been on this kick for wines from northern Italy. Since my visit to the region back in January, I have not been able to shake my craving for more of these wines. The wines from northern Italy are so different from what we have in California. Sometimes I feel as though they are misunderstood. Living here in California, I see that many of my guests are stricken with the California palate. This means they want wines of intensity and robustness. My guests drink wines that grow under the warm California sun and reach perfect ripening year after year. California wines are like the kids from 90210, or better yet, Ricky from Silver Spoons, they have it all. The wines from northern Italy are not born with a sliver spoon in their mouth’s. They have to work for perfection. These wines are burdened with a cooler climate and hindered by vintage variations. In order for them to really stand out, the gods have to align the earth, sun and moon. When we drink these wines we are not overwhelmed with high alcohol levels nor do we taste ripe sweet fruit. Instead, we discover the nuances that make them so special. When everything falls into place they really shine. Like turning a piece of coal into a diamond, or better yet, like Alyssa Milano.
If I were to compare California wines with northern Italian wines I would say that California wines are more like Ricky Schroeder and the Italian wines are like Alyssa Milan from Who’s the Boss. What I mean, is that Ricky is perfect, he has it all. His biggest problem is trying to dance along with Alfonso and keep the beat. Other than that, life is perfect for him and he doesn’t have to try too hard to fit in. Whereas, Alyssa Milano has a housekeeper for a father, and she has to really work at fitting into the new neighborhood. At the end of the day, she has character and the audience feels for her. Heck, it takes someone with character to land a role as a witch with two other hot girls. Not sure if I made a good point, but you get my drift.
My guests love the ripeness of California, therefore are more apt to enjoy the wines from Central and Southern Italy where the sun is warmer and wines are more intense. My goal is to introduce northern Italian wines to them. These wines are so diverse. There are many different types of grapes and each produce a wine that is subtle, elegant and beautiful. Kind of like Alyssa. The Ricky Schroeder wines have a great first impression. Their aromas are intense with fruit and oak. They are full on the palate but then all that intensity overwhelms the subtleties and then the wine is gone leaving you empty. Ricky is a good-looking, smooth talking kid, but not much upstairs, and he can’t dance like Alfonso. Where as Alyssa is sweet on the eyes, but once you get into her character she is a girl of high moral standards and cares for her family which makes her even more beautiful. She is much more down to earth. The Northern Italian wines have nice aromas of flowers, earth and potpourri. The fruit is present but not overwhelming. The alcohol is in balance with the acidity and tannins. These wines allow you to eat food, enjoy a second bottle and can age longer. I will say that Alyssa’s career was definitely longer than Ricky’s, or may be I just continued to watch her b-movies more than I did Ricky’s. Can you tell that I had a crush on her when I was 14?
On Saturday April 26th I will be presenting to my California wine drinking friends the wines of Northern Italy. My wine club, Prime Cru will be hosting a class and tasting of this region. All the wines will be available for sale after the tasting. You are welcome to buy tickets on-line by clicking the link below. Unfortunately Alyssa Milano will not be there this time. However, come and see why I am so gaga goo goo for the wines from northern Italy.