Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's Carnival--Time for Wine from the Veneto

Every February, Venice indulges in one of the world's most spectacular and colorful traditions: Carnival. (photo by gbatistini)

Timed to mark out a period of feasting and revelry before Lent, this year's celebration extends from February 13 to February 24. Venice puts on its fanciest costumes, greets thousands of visitors, and wines and dines itself with even more style than usual.

To join in the fun, GWU$20 will be exploring the wines of the Veneto in February as the next step in my ongoing effort to drink my way through the regions of Italy. I know that this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday theme is A Passion for Piedmont--but Piedmont is where we'll be heading in March!

Before we pass into Piedmont, I'll be drinking some wine from the more than twenty different wine regions of the Veneto. These regions include such well known areas as Soave, Valpolicella, and Valdobbiadene (where Prosecco comes from). While I won't be able to hit every region, I will have at least one red, some whites, and a sparkler to share with you. (picture of Soave by funadium)

Vintners from this part of Italy use a number of interesting and unusual grapes to make their wines. Tangy Garganega (the grapes that go into Soave), dark and luscious Corvina, and local favorites like the perfumed Oseleta are just some of the grapes that are either unique to--or prized by--the region's growers and winemakers. But the Veneto is also planted with French and German varieties. Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Viognier can all be found in bottles from the Veneto.

Food from the Veneto region is a far cry from the tomato-sauced pasta dishes that you may adore from southern Italy. It's more delicate, and it's based more on rice than on pasta. Risi e bisi, a traditional Venetian dish of rice and peas, may well be the ultimate comfort food. The cuisine of the Veneto also takes full advantage of the long stretches of its shoreline that are on the Adriatic Sea. Fresh seafood goes brilliantly with the crip whites of the region. Well-spiced dishes of wild game--both the winged and four-legged varieties--are equally popular, and have been since they appeared on opulent medieval and Renaissance banqueting tables. (photo of Padua in a glass of Pinot Grigio by Daniele Mineri)

In the Veneto, as in the rest of Italy, wine is a way of life. It's a daily pleasure that everyone, young and old, appreciates. With a tradition of winemaking that goes back farther than the history books, I'm looking forward to exploring the treats and treasures the region has to offer this month. (photo of a wine shop on the Lido by stephen_sommerhalter)

As always, if you have particular tips for me and other GWU$20 readers--makers you love, grapes you want to know more about--please leave them in the comments below.


David McDuff said...

Thanks for the WBW plug, Deb. I hope your monthly themes won't stop you from participating, even if it does mean jumping into Piedmont ahead of schedule.

Dr. Debs said...

Absolutely! I've got the wine picked out. It will be a Piedmont preview--AND then I get to use all the tips from WBW 54 next month...