Exploring Island Wines

July 10, 2018

 

Ciao, amici!

 

Have you heard? The month of July is all about Island wines at Lamberti’s. So even if you can't visit one of these beautiful islands in person this summer, we have the perfect wines picked out for you and your friends to feel like you're on an island escape.

 

As y’all may know, the most important influence on any wine is its terroir, or the conditions under which the grapes grow. Elevation, drainage, rainfall, sunshine, frost, soil type, etc. all determine the qualities of the final product in each bottle. Certain parts of the world enjoy ideal conditions for wine growing, and have therefore gained fame as the “home” of certain great wines. Think Tuscany or Bordeaux. These places have consistently ideal conditions for particular types of grapes. Combine that with 7 or more generations of winemaking experience, and you get some of the finest wines in the world. Terroir is key.

 

The importance of terroir is why we are able to offer an entire month of island wines. Islands often contain multiple terroirs in a much smaller space than continental wines, and conditions can vary wildly from year to year, making for some truly unique and interesting wines. 

 

Each week we will feature wines from a different island for our Thursday evening wine tastings, and pair them with the perfect foods to match.

 

 

Last week, our wine tasting was all about Sicily. This island has coastal, volcanic, desert, and rocky mountain climates all within its borders. In a place where expanses of rolling hills with perfect exposure (looking at you, France) are not available, national pride and persistence are what drive the winemaking culture of Sicily. Sicilians have been growing wine for millenia. Their experience with native grapes in tough conditions has resulted in an exciting, if somewhat unknown, tradition. One example is the Etna Rosso, a beautiful red Burgundy-style made from grapes grown on the slopes of an active volcano!

 

From there, we move up to the beautiful, rocky Sardegna, and then up to Corsica. Corsicans are so unique that we have selected Corsican wines for our next exclusive wine dinner! We’ll do five courses, each with a Corsican pairing, served under the guidance of a true Corsican wine expert. Look for more details to follow.

 

Finally, we head to probably the most famous “wine islands:” Australia and New Zealand. Wine first went down under as a medicinal commodity. Australia’s first experience with wine was to make port and other fortified drinks to “strengthen the constitution” or “calm the nerves.” Since then, Aussies and Kiwi wines alike have established themselves as true new world gems.

 

 

Two things come to mind when I get to explore a new island wine. One is old, the other is new. The old one is that some of the earliest records of wine came from the Greek islands. Call me a romantic, but I love the thought of sipping on the same fortifying concoctions that Plato and Achilles did while debating (or fighting for) what is good and just. Those Greeks sing its praises: calling it “the shining, sparkling wine,” and often equated drinking wine with living the life of the gods on Olympus. And we get to taste it!

 

The second thrill I get from island wine is that it is almost always adapting to the whims of nature from season to season. Every vintage is a unique expression of that year’s best. Maybe it was a really cloudy year, or a really hot year, or a really breezy year. The only sure thing is that each year’s wines are unique to that year, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

 

I hope y’all will come out and explore the islands with me this July. We have some exciting things in store!

 

Follow us on Facebook for details on all of our upcoming events!

*Tickets may be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.com. 

 

Michael Malpiedi

 

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