Wines of Summer

Con l'estate che fiorisce fioriscono anche i nostri giardini, la natura si risveglia e con lei anche i sapori. Quali sono i ‘vini per l'estate'? Quali sono i migliori abbinamenti e, quail sono i vini piu' consigliati? La parola al nostroPeter Apicella..

Did anyone believe summer would finally arrive? I have thought back through my past as far as I can and still cannot recall a spring as wet as this one was. Our garden is now well established with tomatoes and peppers, greens and more. Now we can enjoy its' development with a bottle of wine! My friend and tomato guru, Charlie, and I started a weekly tradition last year… Wine in the Garden / Vini nel Giardino!

Personally, we love red wines. For most of the year, the reds we drink everyday tend to be blends from Tuscany, Piedmont, the Veneto and the Southern Regions. From Barbera, Dolcetto and Refosco from the North, Sangiovese and Montepulciano in the Central to Primitivo and Nero D'Avola in the South… they are all our choice for red wines that we'll open any day of the year.

But when the weather changes and it gets real warm and we are sitting out by the garden, we prefer to drink Rosato or Italian Rose, or a lighter Montepulciano d' Abruzzo. They are all perfect for the pizza Charlie's wife makes fresh on her stone from her own oven! I can taste the basil, caramelized onions and cheese!

Most of us tend to favor white wines for the summer season. And if I'm in the mood, a Gavi di Gavi from Piedmont is my choice. Gavi is the grape and takes its name from the town. It is a great accompaniment to summer grilled fish and veggies. I still remember sitting on a patio in Cleveland's Little Italy about 20 years ago tasting my first Gavi in the summer sun! Gavi is typically priced from $15 to $25, but sometimes you can find a real bargain like the Figli d'Italia for about $10. It is still my favorite white wine from Italy!

Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay from Friuli is very refreshing and very affordable. These wines are readily available to purchase in most wine retailers. Small producer, San Simone from Friuli offers both a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay at $14.99. These wines never see any oak aging and therefore are bright, light and refreshing. San Simone also produces a 100% Friulano, again at $14.99 that is a delicate fine wine with intense fragrance reminiscent of wild flowers and generous mellow flavor with a trace of almond.

Soave from the Veneto and Arneis of the Piedmonte, are two more wines perfect for summer from Italy's northern regions. While Bolla Vineyards made Soave a household name over 25 years ago in the US, there are many real interesting and even complex wines made from the Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grapes. Arneis is made from Nebbiolo Blanco grapes. This one might be harder to find. My experience with this wine has been wonderful. It will impress your friends, family and guests, especially if you are doing a lobster or crab bake.

And lastly don't forget Prosecco from the Veneto and Moscato di Asti from the Piemonte. We discussed these wines last month in more detail. Prosecco from Campagnola Winery in Veneto at $14.99 is a vino frizzante and very popular in Italy and becoming more every day in the US. It is fruity and dry, great for making Bellini's. Start with fruit juice (peach for Bellini's) and just add Prosecco. Moscato di Asti DOCG from Ascheri, $19.99 has a slight frizzante. The bouquet is intense and aromatic. It is naturally sweet, harmonious and fresh!

Well … my wife Linda is grilling Copper River salmon tonight and I'll be opening a bottle of Gavi di Gavi to go with the grilled veggies and maybe some sparkling Prosecco to conclude. Off to my garden first!


Peter Apicella
Feren Gift Baskets & Wines from Italy / 800-551-2101