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A Virtual Vendemmia

In Italy the grape harvest (la vendemmia) begins in early to mid-Fall usually during September and October. Every region of Italy grows grapes and the cities, towns and villages across the country celebrate the harvest with grape festivals (sagre) making Autumn one of the best times and seasons to see and savor Italy. I will not be in Italy again this year.Che peccato! My only vendemmia

this year will again be virtual. Here are a few favorite Italian grapes that are part of my virtual pick.

Albana: found in Emilia Romagna; Albana di Romagna a rich, sweet passito wine made from partly dried grapes (on the vine, in small boxes, on wooden grates, or indoors using air);I first had this wine after dinner at in Ferrara for an out-of-body wine experience.

Bonarda: classic grape grown in Piedmonte, Lombardia and Emilia Romagna; in the Oltrepò Pavese for Colli Piacentini DOCs and the killer Colli Piacentini Gutternio. Bonardo Oltrepo Pavese was our cousin Roberto’s favorite wine; deep. ruby-red purple, bright and cheerful, with an aroma of violets and a taste of blackberries, easy to drink.

Dolcetto: another Piedmontese grape; dark, purple skinned; the everyday wine of the region.

Sangiovese: Sangiovese is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy and produces a wide range of Italian wines. Bright and age-worthy wines its purplish-black color yields a fiercely deep red wine when pressed. Although grown in Emilia-Romagna, Marche and Umbria, no region is more synonymous with the variety than Tuscany.Conjuring up all the romanticism of the region it is the dominant grape in the wines of Chianti and in the iconic Brunello.

Nebbiolo: The King and Queen of Italian wines,Barolo and Barbaresco, are both made from the Nebbiolo grape. The Nebbiolo grape languishes in the Langhe hills of Piemonte, a region crowned by the Alps to the North and the Apennines to the South. Temperature variations make the region fill up with morning fog (nebbia in Italian) that slowly burns off during the day. Spectacular region, spectacular grapes, spectacular wine. Gattinara and Nebbiolo d’Alba are two of our favorite wines from this region.

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