Wine and Cheese: A taste of Italy

Wine and Cheese: A taste of Italy

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Italy is one vast vineyard, stretching from Piedmont in the north to Sicily in the south. It is divided into 20 grape-growing regions and over 8,100 villages. There are over 2,000 varieties of Italian wines and more than 1,000 different grape varieties.

At a recent private luncheon and tasting, I sampled over a dozen Italian wines while speaking with the winemakers and representatives.

The KIN Winery from Piedmont makes only one wine:

2015 Erbaluce di Caluso. Flavor of green apple, pear, citrus, figs, almonds and wildflowers. Stellar!

Wines from Tenuta Cavalier Pepe Winery of Irpinia, Campania were:

2018 Vela Veneto Vulcano Rosato. 100% Aglianico grapes. Floral and off-dry with strawberry and red cherry flavor.

2016 “Grancare” Greco di Tufo. Green apple, toasted almond, citrus and melon; young and vibrant.

2017 Falanghina. Drier than most with a fruity aroma of apple, banana and peach. Lingering aftertaste of citrus and minerals.

Wines from Cerulli Spinozzi Winery of Abruzzo were:

2018 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Superiore. Blush-colored, made from Montepulciano grapes. Flavors of watermelon, strawberry and bitter orange.

2018 Pecorino Colli Aprutini. Green olive and brine, brioche and green figs with a bitter almond aftertaste.

2010 Torre Migliori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Deeply colored and full-bodied with flavors of dark chocolate, black plums and spices. Wow! What a wine.

Wines from Corte Quiaira Winery of Veneto were:

2018 Corte Pinot Grigio Ramato. “Ramato” means copper-colored because of skin-contact which provides considerable flavor of tangerine, nectarine, citrus and hazelnuts.

2016 “Campo al Salice” Garganega. Flavors of almonds, apples, honeydew and pears. Long, lingering aftertaste.

2013 Monte delle Saette Goldtraminer. Goldtraminer is a white grape variety made from a cross of Gewürztraminer and Trebbiano Toscano. Clean and crisp with hints of honey, jasmine and marzipan. It has the illusion of sweetness, but it is dry.

2016 Pinot Noir. Huge red and black-berried bouquet with spices, oak and a touch of vanilla.

Wines from Giusti Winery of Veneto were:

2018 Chardonnay delle Venezie. Clean and crisp, reminds me a very good premier cru Chablis.

NV (nonvintage) Rosalia Prosecco. Extra-dry. 100 percent Glera grapes. Fruity and easy to drink.

NV (nonvintage) Spumante Rosé. Blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and Recantina grapes. Bouquet of peaches, strawberry and pomegranate. Dry and very refreshing.

2016 Valpolicella Ripasso. Bouquet and flavor of black cherries, figs, raisins and spices with a bitter aftertaste. In a word … delicious!

2014 Amarone della Valpolicella. Lush, spicy bouquet, almost portlike. Complex flavor of dried fruit, chestnuts and cherry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and quite dry. A rustic Amarone at its best!

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR [email protected].