I love southern Italian wines–they are just as varied and complex and beautiful as anything in Northern Italy. Italy is a country that has a marvelous history and where each region is distinct and memorable–food, wine, history and art.
I remember when I was at the Fancy Food Show in New York over a decade ago. As always I have appointments or just running round to see each aspect of the show–this show was not exception. This show I slowed down when it came to the Italian Pavillion and there was a seminar put on by Radici del Sud–from that point forward I was in love with the mission of showcasing southern Italian wines. I tasted Negroamaro and octopus–and who knew this could be so sublime. Negroamaro– a wine meaning black from bitter is more earthy and tart than bitter. I had tasted Primitivo many times before but it is always wonderful to taste the Italian expression simply because both region and style come through in ways that it is not Zinfandel. What I mean by this is that many producers in California are using Petite Sirah-nothing wrong with that but it is highly influential and I say there is a point of departure where these wines can no longer compared against to each other for many reasons.
Southern Italian wines have been shining through more now than ever. There are certainly a ‘country to be discovered” Southern Italy is discovered but discovery is still happening. I am happy to have been a judge at Radici del Sud 2016. I remember getting the invitation and I had to re-read again and again–it was a dream to be in Puglia once again.
Radici is essential to tell the story of the southern Italian wines. I loved tasting the treasury of Aglianico–there is so many Aglianico in Italy and much fewer in North America. Aglianico is certainly a noble red wine of the south.
I am eager to taste more Fiano, Nerello Mascalese, Cataratto, Gagiliopo, Nero d’Avola, Nero di Troia, Malvasia Bianca, Verdeca, Greco di Tuffo, Grillo, Falanghina, Vermentino, Susumaniello, Pallagrello Nero and Pallagrello Bianco. I do think that we will be tasting more wines from Southern Italy in North America–I do think it is about having vino veritas come to the forefront of dazzling wines to pair with food.
I was so delighted to participate in Radici and I am so glad to go back to participate in Sicilia en Primeur 2017.
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
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