Viva Veneto

Viva Veneto image from Jarvis Communications

Viva Veneto image credit: Jarvis Communications

For all of its culinary popularity, Italy’s wines seem to struggle to enjoy the same kind of international obsession. It’s not that they aren’t loved – quite the contrary; after several thousand years of fermenting grape juice, the Italians have learned a thing or two. That’s as evident on the shelves of collectors as it is in the glass.

But for every Barolo or Brunello enthusiast, there are scores of ordinary wine lovers who seem reluctant to go there. Maybe it’s overwhelm at the thought of learning a fraction of the country’s 3,000 or so varietals. Maybe it’s too much bad Chianti in college, or maybe it’s a general lack of awareness, combined with the country’s complicated viticultural designation system or DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) – similar to France’s, but with way more vowels.

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To tackle this last challenge, a number of Italian consortiums (consorzi) and organizations have hit the road, educating the wine drinking public on what their regions/wines are all about. One of these groups – Centro Estero Veneto, along with five Chambers of Commerce of the Veneto region – have embarked on a US tour, to teach us Americans a thing or two about the wines of Veneto, in Northern Italy.

Home to some of the country’s best-known destinations, like Venice (canals), Padua and Verona (Romeo and Juliet), and the splendor (and skiing) of the Dolomites in the Alps, Veneto is also home to some of Italy’s best-known wines. Prosecco, Soave, Bardolino and Amarone all hail from here. In fact, this region is Italy’s leading producer of DOC-grade wines; it’s Italy’s third largest region in terms of wine production; and wines from Veneto make up 20% of national output.

The Veneto consortium recently landed in Los Angeles and put its top sommeliers, wines and recipes on display at tastings, dinners and seminars. The opening gala, held at 31 Ten Lounge, in Venice, was attended by representatives from the LA Mayor’s office and Italian dignitaries. There were tastings at Upstairs 2 at The Wine House and Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar, and an all-day educational event at the Skirball Cultural Center, where tables – loaded with imported wine and food – kept both professionals and enthusiasts munching and sipping and smiling for hours. A select few were also treated to a late-night dinner at Terroni restaurant, where owner Max Stefanelli cooked regional dishes and used the area’s wines in both the recipes and the pairings.

The Veneto events revealed layers of a culture that’s rich in food and wine, but was more a celebratory springboard than a complete course. Luckily, there are rumors that the consortium will be back again next year. In the meantime, if you’re craving polenta or risotto, or maybe a non-Veneto Italian treat, consider braving those vowels or varietals and drinking an Italian education.

Colbertaldo_-Strada-del-vino-bianco1

image credit: Jarvis Communications

Viva Veneto image credit: Jarvis CommunicationsFor all of its culinary popularity, Italy’s wines seem to struggle to enjoy the same kind of international obsession. It’s not that they aren’t loved – quite the contrary; after several thousand years of fermenting grape juice, the Italians have learned a thing or two. That’s as evident on the shelves of collectors as it is in the glass.
But for every Barolo or Brunello enthusiast, there are scores of ordinary wine lovers who seem reluctant to go there. Maybe it’s overwhelm at the thought of learning a fraction of the country’s 3,000 or so varietals. Maybe it’s too much bad Chianti in college, or maybe it’s a general lack of awareness, combined with the country’s complicated viticultural designation system or DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) – similar to France’s, but with way more vowels.

To tackle this last challenge, a number of Italian consortiums (consorzi) and organizations have hit the road, educating the wine drinking public on what their regions/wines are all about. One of these groups – Centro Estero Veneto, along with five Chambers of Commerce of the Veneto region – have embarked on a US tour, to teach us Americans a thing or two about the wines of Veneto, in Northern Italy.
Home to some of the country’s best-known destinations, like Venice (canals), Padua and Verona (Romeo and Juliet), and the splendor (and skiing) of the Dolomites in the Alps, Veneto is also home to some of Italy’s best-known wines. Prosecco, Soave, Bardolino and Amarone all hail from here. In fact, this region is Italy’s leading producer of DOC-grade wines; it’s Italy’s third largest region in terms of wine production; and wines from Veneto make up 20% of national output.
The Veneto consortium recently landed in Los Angeles and put its top sommeliers, wines and recipes on display at tastings, dinners and seminars. The opening gala, held at 31 Ten Lounge, in Venice, was attended by representatives from the LA Mayor’s office and Italian dignitaries. There were tastings at Upstairs 2 at The Wine House and Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar, and an all-day educational event at the Skirball Cultural Center, where tables – loaded with imported wine and food – kept both professionals and enthusiasts munching and sipping and smiling for hours. A select few were also treated to a late-night dinner at Terroni restaurant, where owner Max Stefanelli cooked regional dishes and used the area’s wines in both the recipes and the pairings.

The Veneto events revealed layers of a culture that’s rich in food and wine, but was more a celebratory springboard than a complete course. Luckily, there are rumors that the consortium will be back again next year. In the meantime, if you’re craving polenta or risotto, or maybe a non-Veneto Italian treat, consider braving those vowels or varietals and drinking an Italian education.

image credit: Jarvis Communications

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes

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