Friday, July 12, 2024

Chicken and Shrimp Skewers with Poggio della Dogana Romagna Albana

This month I’m hosting our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) as we pair Italian wines with barbecue.  I recently did a virtual tasting with the owners of Ronchi di Castelluccio from Emilia Romagna, brothers Aldo and Paolo Rametta.  It was fun to explore this region more as it’s not one that I try all too often.  We had tasted a wine from their first family passion project featuring their wine Poggio della Dogana Belladama.  This white I felt would be the perfect feature for this month as it’s from a white grape, Albana, that most may not be familiar with.  Plus, the Albana paired lovely with the shrimp and chicken skewers I barbequed this week. 

The Winery – Poggio della Dogana 

Paolo and Aldo Rametta acquired the Poggio della Dogana estate in 2017 in the town of Terra del Sole within the Forli-Cesena province in the Emilia Romagna region of north central Italy.  The winery was named after the small hill, poggio in Italian, that held the customs post, dogana in Italian, that stood as a territorial and cultural border between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and Papal Romagna.   

Poggio della Dogana winery in Romagna
Poggio della Dogana
The vineyards are 20-year-old vines that were already in the process of being converted to organic when they purchased the land.  Today, the winery is certified on the European level. 
Poggio della Dogana vineyards
Vineyards of Poggio della Dogana
The estate consists of about 50 acres that sits between the communes of Brisighella and Castrocano Terme.   The Rametta brothers main focus in vineyard plantings is on native varieties of Romagna.  Biodiversity is active between the vines with honey bees living amongst the vines, tended to by a local beekeeper, that helps pollinate the vines.  Also present are an abundance of olive trees. 

The Albana grape 

The Albana grape is a white grape variety that dates back to ancient times and is mostly found in the region of Emilia Romagna. Albana is mostly known for its sweeter style wines, but can also be produced in a dry, secco, version.  It’s sweetness levels vary from amabile (medium sweet), to dolce and passito where the grapes are more concentrated.  You can also find it produced as a sparkling wine under its own DOC, but not under the Romagna Albana DOCG. 

Albana grapes from Romagna
Albana grapes sourced from Consorzio Vini Romagna

The Romagna Albana DOCG was the first white DOCG established in 1987.   Albana can be straw to golden colored with intense florals and sometimes some herbal aromas.  It will show notes leaning more towards stone fruits like peach, pear and apricot.  The wines are mostly medium to fuller bodied with a high acidity giving them the ability to produce great sweeter style wines.   

The Wine 

The 2022 Poggio della Dogana “Belladama” Romagna Albana Secco DOCG is an organic wine made from 100% from the Albana grape.  The grapes are planted in Brisighella, where the vines are situated about 250 meters above sea level in younger, yellow sandy soil.  The wine is named after their mother, Rosanna, whom had a horse with the name from her grandfather’s stable that she loved as a child. 

As described during the tasting this wine is “a red wine dressed in white” due to its complexity shown on the palette.  This wine had no skin contact during vinification and is vinified in cement with indigenous yeasts that helps bring out the nature of the wine.  It is aged for 9-10 months in cement and then bottled for 4+ months.   

The wine was light golden colored with a floral nose and apricot and pineapple aromatics.  Medium to fuller bodied with a round texture and moderate to higher acidity on the palette.  Notes of pineapple and some citrus with a slight bitterness.  13.5% ABV, SRP $30-35 

2022 Poggio della Dogana “Belladama” Romagna Albana Secco DOCG

The labels of the wines were drawn by the great great grandfather, Silvio Gordini, whom is a known artist in the Emilia Romagna region. 

Romagna Albana pairing with Shrimp and Chicken Skewers 

It had been awhile since I made skewers and with this month’s theme on bbq and wanting to try this Albana I figured it was time to make some up.  Without trying the wine first, but having an understanding of the grape produced in a dry style, I felt that some shrimp and pineapple skewers may lend well to the flavors in the albana if they were to be on the tropical side.  I even gave them a little teriyaki glaze as well.   

To appease to my little guys I also made some chicken skewers and asparagus and grilled those up removing them from the skewers and cutting up the asparagus mixed together in a dish topped with some extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.  I even made some side dishes of a simple greek salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and feta along with some roasted butternut squash.  A little smorgasbord for the sampling. 

chicken and shrimp skewers paired with Romagna Albana wine

Both of the skewer dishes complimented this Romagna Albana, especially the shrimp and pineapple skewers.   Even the roasted butternut squash seemed to go well.  I guess the wine turned out pretty versatile with the array of foods I tried it with.  I guess you never know until you try.   

Enjoy the rest of our Italian food and wine writers group as they share some interesting Italian wines paired with barbeque.

  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm features "Chicken Spiedini and Il Sorriso from Sicily"
  • Camilla of the Culinary Cam will entice us with "Simple but Spectacular: Grilled Top Sirloin + Attilio Ghisolfi 2018 Sbardaja Nebbiolo"
  • Terri at Our Good Life shares "Savor the Flavors: Exploring the Perfect Pairing of Italian Wine and Barbecue with Speri Amarone 2018"
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator writes "Fresh from the grill: fish and pizza with wines from Sicily
  • Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog will "Discover Abruzzo: Five Masciarelli Wines and Smoked Wild Boar Pairings"
  • Alison of Artisan Wine Tasting will feature "Elio Filippino 4 Amis Lange Rosso from Piedmont and a Filet, mushroom and brandy on the grill"

You can shop on Wine.com in support of Vino Travels and find a variety of Albana wines to try for yourself.

 
*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are always my own.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Italian Wines Paired with BBQ

This month I'm hosting our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group of writers as we jump into the dog days of summer featuring Italian wines paired with barbeque dishes.  If you're like me I don't like to keep the oven cranking to put a meal on the table for my family.  Putting meals together on the grill is not only easy, it's delicious.  Plus, while you're waiting for your food to cook you can sit on the patio or deck and sip on an Italian wine before your meal is ready.  Win win!

barbecue pairing with Italian wines
Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash
There are so many great Italian wines all over Italy that pair well in the summer months with bbq.  Plenty of Italy's fine red wines go great with grilled meats.  You also have the many choices of Italy's great whites as well as a large array of sparkling wines and rose.  So whether you're grilling up pork, sausage, steak, chicken or grilled vegetables there are options for everyone.

Let's take a look at what our Italian food and wine writers dish up for a pairing of Italian wines with summer bbq. Enjoy!

  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm features "Chicken Spiedini and Il Sorriso from Sicily"
  • Camilla of the Culinary Cam will entice us with "Simple but Spectacular: Grilled Top Sirloin + Attilio Ghisolfi 2018 Sbardaja Nebbiolo"
  • Terri at Our Good Life shares "Savor the Flavors: Exploring the Perfect Pairing of Italian Wine and Barbecue with Speri Amarone 2018"
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator writes "Fresh from the grill: fish and pizza with wines from Sicily
  • Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog will "Discover Abruzzo: Five Masciarelli Wines and Smoked Wild Boar Pairings"
  • Alison of Artisan Wine Tasting will feature "Elio Filippino 4 Amis Lange Rosso from Piedmont and a Filet, mushroom and brandy on the grill"
  • At Vino Travels I'll be sharing "Chicken and Shrimp Skewers with Poggio della Dogana Romagna Albana"

Our writers posts will be live by Saturday.  If you'd like to join our food and wine writers group this month please email me at vino travels at hotmail dot com.  Ci vediamo!  See you soon!

 

Saturday, June 29, 2024

National Prosecco Week Wraps up with a Look at Asolo Prosecco

As we wrap up National Prosecco Week we get ready to start next week for National Sparkling Wine Week.  Like you needed an excuse to pop open some bubbly!  Recently I attended a virtual event on the wines of Asolo Prosecco sponsored by the Asolo Consorzio and hosted by Studio Cru with an overview of Asolo and a tasting panel led by Alessandro Marchesan.  Such a great opportunity to learn more about this quality wine region in the Veneto and taste a variety of styles of Asolo Prosecco. 

The Asolo Prosecco Wine Region 

Prosecco is so mass produced that it’s important to understand the regions that are making quality Prosecco including Asolo and its neighbor Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Today we focus on the Prosecco wines of Asolo that are named after the town itself within the Treviso province of the Veneto region in northeastern Italy.  

Located only about 1 hour north of Venice, this wine region has a unique geography setting. It sits at the foothills of Monte Grappa and the Dolomite mountain range to the north, but is also not too distant from the Adriatic Sea. These factors influence its climate creating a balance between a continental and Mediterranean climate with winds from both the north and south. 

Prosecco wine region map
Copyright of Asolo Prosecco Consorzio

Asolo’s Prosecco wine producing history stems from a production of bulk wines as well as selling the wines locally. Since 2012 the area has increased plantings due to zonation research they conducted that identified the best areas for planting.  That along with producers from the small family run businesses that occupy the region paying strong attention to producing quality wines have changed the vision of Asolo Prosecco wines. Although the market for Prosecco has grown tremendously in recent years, production in Asolo has always been there well before the Prosecco craze. It is actually the fourth biggest DOCG sparkling wine producing region in Italy.  

Asolo Prosecco wines became a DOCG in 2009 and in 2014 was the first to start the Extra Brut category for Prosecco wines that are low in sugar and full of fruit.  The wines of Asolo are defined by their distinct freshness in their bubbles and their salty, mineral finish.  The wines are made from a minimum of 85% Glera along with up to 15% of other local non aromatic grape varieties to include Verdiso, Perera, Glera Lunga and Bianchetta Trevigiana. 

The Wines 

The 2022 LeTerre Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato Dry was brightly straw coloerd with aromas of apple, pear and citrus.  Crisp with soft bubbles and notes of lemon with a hint of honey ending with a salty finish.  ABV 11% 

2022 LeTerre Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato Dry

The 2022 Bele Casel Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry was a brilliant pale straw color. There were aromas of citrus, apple and wet stone. On the palate the wine was crisp with bubbles tingling the tip of the tongue. It showed nice fruit with juicy tart apple and citrus with a lingering finish. 

2022 Bele Casel Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry

The 2022 Case Paolin “Col Fondo” Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Sui Lieviti Brut Nature was an interesting wine to try.  Not my personal preference, but everyone has their own preferred styles.  A great learning experience on col fondo wines though that I’d like to share. 

2022 Case Paolin “Col Fondo” Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Sui Lieviti Brut Nature

What is col fondo?  Col fondo is when the wine produced in the traditional or classic method where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle and it not disgorged.  How does col fondo differ from pet nat (if you are familiar with those wines)?   Pet nat wines are bottled before fermentation is complete.  The sui lieveti on the labels translates to “with the bottom” since the wine is remaining with the natural yeasts or lees and sediment on the bottom of the bottle. 

Back to the wine, this wine is made from organic grapes that are certified organic.  The grapes are grown on the slopes of Montello in their oldest vineyard, about 30 years old.  The wine spends 15-18 hours on the skins and is fermented in steel tanks with secondary fermentation in the bottle. Pale straw colored with a greenish tinge and slight haziness to the wine from the “sui lieviti.  Floral aromas with citrus and yeasty notes.  Bone dry, light-bodied, crisp and clearn with mouthwatering acidity, citrus pith notes that seemed slightly bitter to me with  minerality on the finish.  Alessandro recommended drinking this wine with asian foods or lobster rolls.

Asolo Prosecco wines
Copyright of Asolo Prosecco Consorzio

There will be more Asolo Prosecco wines to come as well as my feature on this region in the Appetito magazine next week. Stay tuned! 

Have you tried the wines of Asolo and what are some of your favorite Prosecco producers?

You can shop on Wine.com in support of Vino Travels and find a variety of Prosecco wines to try for yourself.

 
*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.  

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lugana: The White Jewel of Lake Garda

If you’ve traveled across northern Italy and visited many of its great lakes you may have stumbled upon Lake Garda that straddles the region of the Veneto and Lombardy.  With such charm and beauty as well as great proximity to so many wonderful surrounding towns, it’s not a surprise that one finds themself falling in love with the area.  In addition, this area is home to so many great known wines of Italy to include Valpolicella, Amarone, Bardolino and the Lugana white wines we are talking about today. 

Lugana wine region 

It's a challenge to pick Italy’s great white wines with so many to choose from.  Time and time again when I have tried a bottle of Lugana I’m reminded how great these wines can be.  Lugana wines are produced in the southern part of Lake Garda split between the Lombardy and Veneto region. You will find these wines produced in the town of Peschiera del Garda on the Veneto side and in Lombardy Lugana is produced in Desenzano, Pozzolengo, Sirmione and Lonato. 

Lugana wine comunes at Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the ideal climate for growing these grapes.  It helps moderate the temperatures creating a rather mild climate with cool winters and breezes that help cool down the hot summers.  

Lugana is made from the native Turbiana grape.  Many of the wineries that produce Lugana will use 100% of the Turbiana grape, but there is an allowance of up to 10% non-aromatic white grapes.  

Turbiana grapes in Lugana wines
Turbiana grapes - copyright of the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC

Lugana wines are produced in a variety of styles: your standard still white, Superiore, Riserva, late harvest (known as vendemmia tardiva) and a sparkling spumante.  About 90% of the Lugana production is made in the standard still white wine version, but there is something for everyone with this one wine and it’s interesting to see it in its various styles. 

The wine I am sharing today is a Lugana DOC still white wine.  These wines are typically enjoyed young.  Beautiful floral aromatics with a possible hint of almond.  They’re fresh and bright on the palate showing citrus notes.  As you approach the Riserva and Superiore versions the wines will change in structure, texture and intensity of flavors.  

The Wine 

Monte Zovo’s Lugana vineyards are situated in the Lombardy region split between the Pozzolengo and Desenzano comunes set at the base of San Martino della Battiglia tower at about 100 meters above sea level.  

San Martino della Battiglia tower in Lombardy
San Martino della Battiglia - copyright of Wikipedia
The 2022 Monte Zovo Le Civaie Terralbe Lugana DOC is made of 100% Turbiana grapes. The soil of this area is morainic white calcareous clay that is rich in minerals. The grapes are hand harvested and chilled on the spot. The grapes macerate for 8-10 hours and are fermented at low temperatures for 15-20 days. The wine spends 5 months on the lees and 2 months in the bottle. 

The wine was straw colored with pretty aromatics of stone fruit with a touch of honey and petrol and some citrus. Light to medium-bodied, this wine was crisp with refreshing acidity and bright, tangy citrus. A nicely balanced wine with some saltiness on the finish. SRP $25

2022 Monte Zovo Le Civaie Terralbe Lugana DOC
Have you tried the wines of Lugana?  What about a visit to Lake Garda?  What are your favorite sites?  I love to hear from my readers so drop a comment.

You can shop on Wine.com in support of Vino Travels and find a variety of Lugana wines to try for yourself.

 
*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are always my own.