Wine for Beginners - in Italy

Old Apr 23rd, 2006, 07:18 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 898
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wine for Beginners - in Italy

I don't like wine; to be honest Iíve never had more than a few tastes because I donít even like the smell. But I really want to try wines in Italy. Any suggestions where to start? On another thread, Traviata mentioned Passito, a dessert wine.
Maire is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2006, 09:39 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 432
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Where to start with wine in Italy - everywhere! Wine is consumed in Italy with every meal, not as a alcholic beverage but as an integral part of the meal, kids start when they are toddlers (as apart of family meals of course) and its rare to find alchoholics or drunks in Italy (foreign tourists excpepted). Every region in Italy has a plethora of wines, and you can't go wrong if you order a carafe or 1/2 carafe of the table wine at a restaurant, and if you want to be adventurous ask the waiter to recommend a bottle of inexpensive local wine to go with whatever you are eating. Passito refers to a late harvest desert wine, many types, nearly always white, but as said they are desert wines or after dinner, too sweet for drinking with main meal. If you want a lighter apertivo type ask for Moscato d'Asti (naturally sweet and slightly fizzy) or a Prosecco (not sweet, like a champagne).
Sampaguita is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 03:58 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,697
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should do a search here on this topic as there was a long thread about Italian wines here recently. In general, you should drink the wine of the region you are visiting.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 04:35 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>If you want a lighter apertivo type ask for Moscato d'Asti (naturally sweet and slightly fizzy) or a Prosecco (not sweet, like a champagne)<

Beware! Moscato d'Asti is extremely sweet. You drink it together with a dessert.

Prosecco is anything but like champagne. Usually it is a very cheap sparkling wine. If you want a dry sparkling wine that is better try Ferrari Spumante. There are also good dry Asti Spumantes. Champagne, however, is unique, and you will find nothing that comes close in Italy.

It is not a good recommendation to take a carafe of house wine. House wine is usually cheap stuff that comes from a 2-litre-bottle. Often, it is not a regional wine. It may even come from Northern Africa.

Take a bottle of regional wine which is made from a local grape variety. Do not look for global grapes like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. They are not native to Italy and certainly not good.
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 04:53 AM
  #5  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi M,

>I don't like wine; ...I donít even like the smell.<

That's too bad. You need a better wine retailer.

Try a wine bar (enoteca) for some samplings of the whites (Orvieto Classico, Frascati, Soave) and reds (Valpolicella, Chianti Classico, Rosso di Montalcino).

If you still don't like wine, you are just not a wine drinker and shouldn't force yourself to acquire a taste.

Have a nice visit.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 04:57 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,697
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you let us know where in Italy you will be, we can recommend specific wines to get you started. But really, why force yourself? The lemon soda is grat in Italy!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 05:03 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I hated wine until I was in my mid 20's...both white and red. I just took it a little at a time. White and desert wines are a good place to start. If you start with a really robust wine like Brunello, you may continue to dislike wine. I started with Cabernet Savingnon and worked my way up to a more complex variety. I really do think it is an aquired taste but eventually you will grow to appreciate wine if you give it time.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 07:02 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 898
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for the wonderful advice.

I won't force myself to drink it (and I suspect the lemon soda will be more to my taste), but I want to attempt to experience some of the wines of Italy.

We'll be in Rome, Venice, Florence, Lake Como, Siena, and Perugia.
Maire is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 08:12 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,052
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm definitely not very knowledgeable when it comes to wine, and I prefer wine on the sweeter side. I agree with the above; we had a wonderful Montefalco Sangrantino and a Montefalco Rosso while in Umbria. And contrary to the above, I have had house wines by the carafe that were decent and local to the area, but usually I ask first.

I would go to an enoteca and try some samplings. Another option would be to visit a winery somewhere near your home for a tasting first. This could give you a general idea of what kinds of wine you like (red, white, sweet, dry, etc).

Good luck!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 01:56 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 432
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Aah Maire, as expected everyone is suggesting their favourite Italian wines to you, my comment would be to keep it simple, start with whites, try the different wines from the regions you are in, Italy has a vast range of wines in many different styles.

Traveller 1959, I have to disagree with your comments to my first post reply.

First of all the real Moscato díAsti is neither extremely sweet or a desert wine. Perhaps you are confusing this wine, which is not common to find outside Italy with itís sweeter (industrial) cousin, Asti Spumante commonly called just Asti. Moscato díAsti in fact derives its delicateness because the fermentation is arrested after a short period so retains the natural sweetness of Moscato grapes, with a low alcohol and light mouse fizz, perfect for an apertivo with some pastries, or even for breakfast!

I suggested this wine as the poster admits to not having much experience with wine and in all my years of running a B&B in Piedmont I have never met anyone who didnít like this wine when they taste the real thing, even those who profess not to like sweet wine.

And then of course Prosecco is not really like Champagne, however I mentioned it as an alternative to Moscato as a light aperitivo, commonly available throughout Italy and not necessary cheap and nasty as you have implied. Maire had professed to not be knowledgeable about wine. Piedmont produces some excellent Champagne style Spumantes, not just Asti, and the new Alte Langhe DOCís are very good and great value compared with nowadays-exorbitant Champagne houses (and I have drunken the finest of Champagnes in my time)

And furthermore about the house vino di tavolos, we are not in France, this is Italy, where there is a huge quantity of cheap and cheerful wines and every region produces good plonk which you can order in a carafe, which for a novice or budget drinker is a good way to start. Where have you travelled in Italy that they served you North African wine, definitely not in my area? And as I said you should ask the waiter to recommend the best local wines and then see what you like. Enotecaís are good ways to try local wines, and also visit a winery in any of the areas you are visiting if you have a chance. Cheers and chin chin.


Sampaguita is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 06:07 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,597
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try Lacryma Christi ("Tears of Christ&quot, a red wine whose grapes are grown on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius. I'm not much of a wine drinker but I love this one - maybe it's the Mt. Vesuvius angle that hooks me!
Postal is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 06:16 PM
  #12  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should make six phone calls to friends that you think know wines, and try to come up with a list of three wine stores in your area. Visit two or three of them, and ry to get past the part-time sales staff to someone who knows wine (ideally, the owner). Let him or her know that you are looking to get some basic education about wines (hoping to focus on wines you might find in Italy, but be open to trying wines he/she suggests that will help you learn, regardless of their origin). Let him/her know that you are thinking to spend one-tenth of your airfare (if you're not, then I submit you're just going to waste money on wine purchases in Italy).

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 11:50 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,500
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you want to try Italian wines be sure they are either a DOC "denominazione di origine controllata" or an IGT "Indicazione geografica tipica" and you will get an excellant wine. These appellations are clearly marked on the bottle's lable.

I agree with the other posters, if you don't usually drink wine start off with the white wines like pinot grigio. And you should also try prosecco. It is really good!
cheribob is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2006, 12:17 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,697
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lambrusco is a great entry point into red wines if you will be in Tuscany or Emilia-Romagna. Near Como, try the Soave Classico DOC from Pieropan. The Soave wines of Roberto Anselmi such as Capital Croce IGT have opted out of DOC classifications but represent some of the best in the Soave area.
One wine I like very much in Venice is Tocai Friulano Colli Orientale DOC from Torre Rosazza.It sells in New York for $38. retail.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2006, 12:21 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Pinot Grigio would be a good starter wine. Chill a good bottle and try it at home before you set out for Italy.
hopscotch is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2006, 03:35 AM
  #16  
cherylforeurope
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Maire - I used to only drink a white zinfindel or a really sweet wine. After husband's heart problems and learning he could benefit from red wine we learned some facts about it. Most people must get used to the "tannins" (that's what causes the drying sensation in your mouth) in the wine...especially Americans who are used to having an abundance of sweet drinks in their diet. It's recommended you start with a semi-sweet wine like a white zinfandel. When you can handle that it was recommended to move to the
Merlot's, Chianti's & Shiraz wines and allow yourself to become accustomed to the tannins. It does work...I never cared for red wine..until now. Now it's hard for me to drink a sweet wine. If you find one of those you like, move on
until you're ready to try a Brunello!!
Either way, wine or no wine...enjoy Italy!
 
Old May 10th, 2006, 11:12 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I hope I'm not too late to reply but I would suggest reading up on the subject. I recently bought a book titled "The Wine Bible" by author Karen MacNeil. It's very readable and you can gain a lot of knowledge about the areas in which you plan to travel. I love to drink wine. My tastes vary from time to time so I've tried many, many wines. Good luck to you and have a safe trip.
perfectearth is offline  
Old May 10th, 2006, 11:18 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
You could order the smallest size carafe of "house white wine" and a bottle of still or fizzy water, and mix the two.

That said, aren't you traveling in the summer? I don't think attempting to acquire a taste for wine in the hot weather is necessarily a great idea!
suze is offline  
Old May 10th, 2006, 11:50 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am another who dislikes dry wines. I don't like the bitter taste left by the tannin, I guess. I do like sweet wines -- Reislings, plum wines, Icevine, etc. As well as mead. I don't care for White Zinfandel, but I can enjoy Asti Spumante. I also like Lambrusco (tried it at Olive Garden, believe it or not).

I don't like beer either, and have no intention of trying to I'll stick to my sweet ciders while in pubs.

Why do people like bitter tasting things?

I will say I have had one glass of red I really enjoyed. It was St. something, at some restaurant in Miami at New Year's. It was rather dry to my taste, but had all sorts of flavors -- raspberry, oak, molasses, caramel, etc.

Maybe I just haven't tried any GOOD red wines?
GreenDragon is offline  
Old May 10th, 2006, 12:04 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
If someone does not like wine, I do not recommend any red as the place to start.
suze is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -