Category Archives: Consuming Venice

Locales, what to eat, how to eat it.

Celebrating the wines of La Tuscia

festedelvino2.jpgLa Tuscia Viterbese refers to the area surrounding Viterbo where the Etruscans once reigned; today’s communities celebrate their regional DOC and IGT wines with Feste del Vino della Tuscia. They began in late July, but if you’re in the area you still have until the 16th of August to enjoy some of these interesting, and likely lesser known wines along with local fare in a festive atmosphere, al fresco.

The festivals take place in the towns named for the DOCs they celebrate. These wines are light, refreshing and flavorful, with whites vinified from varieties like Aleatico, Trebbiano, Malvasia (more than one type of each), the native Greco, Grechetto; red varieties that include Sangiovese, Montepulciano (the grape), and Ciliegiolo, among others.

Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone is a blend of three white grape varieties. It’s a light and refreshing, produced in a variety of versions from dry to sparkling (also dry). The name (Latin for “It is,” or perhaps Italian for “Ecco”) has a delightful history; worth translating at (in Italian).

Vignanello is a town and a DOC, produced in the area just east of it. There are four versions are Bianco (one or two Trebbiano varieties, and two different Malvasia), Greco (which is the variety), Rosso (Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, maybe more), and Rosato (same blend as the Rosso). You might also find the Greco in a sparkling version, and the Bianco superiore, or at a higher alcohol level due to a particularly mature vintage or other factors.

GRADOLI (only Friday, August 14)
This DOC zone Aleatico di Gradoli is located in the area just north of the Lago di Bolsena, and the wine is produced from the  Aleatico grape. Don’t let the “dessert” category throw you however: though it’s not dry, its sweetness is balanced, fresh, and certainly worth trying.

You may also spot Tarquinia, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi (a larger DOC zone extending north and south of Viterbo), and even Orvieto, whose zone is shared with Umbria, not to mention IGTs (still regional with fewer restrictions than a DOC wine) such as Lazio, Colli Cimini, and Civitella d’Agliano.


The town festivals include tastings of both wines and local fare, music, wine carriage processions and even a neighborhood palio competition, this Monday night is the Calici di Stelle with tastings under San Lorenzo’s falling stars.

Most events take place in the evening, but also check with any of the tourist offices of the town nearest you for details, don’t to hesitate to call 334 284 2216. (ANSA)

Calici di Stelle: Taste WInes as San Lorenzo’s Stars Fall

wine_moon.jpgThe Wine Tourism Movement of Italy and the Associazione Italian Sommeliers, or AIS, is holding an outdoor wine event this Monday, August 10, from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. You’ll taste a variety of unusual whites, reds and dessert wines from the Tre Venezie (many of them native varieties), and if the weather holds, should offer a festive, relaxing opportunity to explore and expand your Italian wine palate. (There will be a entrance fee of €5 or €10, if I can obtain it I’ll post it here.)

calicedistelleThis is the Venice version of the Calici di Stelle events being held in cortili, piazze and historic centers all around Italy on August 10 (some on the 9th), La Notte di San Lorenzo. The stars that fall on that night represent tears shed for the saint…somehow they end up in our glasses. : ) In any case, if you’re not in Venice, check to see if there’s a local Calici di Stelle wine event near you.

This one will be held in the Piazza Ferretto in Venezia Mestre (see map link below). To reach it from Piazzale Roma (about 20 minutes), take bus number 7 (which runs more frequently), or that for Mirano, or Treviso. Tell the driver your destination and he’ll let you know the correct stop. To return, take nighttime (notturno) bus number 1. Alternatively, it’s about a 10-minute walk from the Mestre train station.

Here‘s the map.



Wine/moon photo © Svetlana Suvorina |

Prosecco procures a promotion.

The humble Prosecco, a DOCG? Who’da thunk it.vendemmia coste piane2.jpg

It’s true though, and ben venga. By the time the next vendemmia (grape harvest or vintage) is bottled, you might find both the phrase Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore printed on its label, and the pink DOCG fascetta (seal) ringing its neck, just like bottles of Barolo, Chianti Classico, Brunello, and other DOCG* wines. With that pink strip, you can be assured that the Prosecco you’re drinking is not only Italian, but was produced in the area that made it famous.

The producers originally wanted to feature only the territory name on the label, but realized almost immediately that outside the Veneto it was the grape prosecco that most of its fans know, not the unpronounceable-without-prodigious-practice, ten-syllable region names.

Good call.

vendemmia coste piane1.jpg

Therefore, the Prosecco name stands, and now refers to a geographic location (even though the variety itself has been renamed to its synonymous glera).

In addition, the term “superiore” on an Italian wine (such as a Valpolicella Superiore) indicates an alcohol content higher than that of the same non-superiore wine, and is the result of a riper-than-normal vintage. I’m not sure this is the case with the use of superiore in the DOCG name, but I hope to learn soon.

What will change as a result of Prosecco’s DOCG status? First, there’s the guarantee that you’re drinking what you think you’re drinking, and it came from where you expect it to come from. Since its explosive popularity, Prosecco has been imitated all over the world – the producers were quite right to want to put a stop to it. That, and the cost of the wine may be higher (most DOCGs do cost more) we’ll see once this year’s vintage is on the market.

(Do remember however, that a DOCG status, like the number of stars in a hotel rating, is not an automatic indicator of how good a given wine might be, but rather a guarantee of HOW the wine is created, and of its true origin: the varieties it’s made from, where the vineyards are located, vinification methods, etc. A favorite producer or a good vintage year will be a better indicator of quality, but we’ll keep an eye out on which producers go DOCG…and of course conduct diligent and thorough research.

Somebody’s got to do it, vero? Cin cin!vendemmia coste piane3.jpg

* Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the most stringent of Italian wine production categories (followed by DOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata, IGT – Indicazione Geografica Tipica, and vino di tavola, in that order).


The photos above are from the 2007 vendemmia of Coste Piane Prosecco Sur Lie. I continue to credere that each glass I drank from that vintage contained at least few of the grapes I hand-picked in it…