The Bacchus Report: Wines from the sole
Written by: Libor Ševčík
The arrival of modern technologies
has helped make many underrated wines from southern Italy and Sicily
foto: Věroslav Sixt
This long-time poor reputation applied mainly to white wines from
the tip and sole of the boot of Italy. As in Sicily, they were
too heavy, tired, and without flash. The reds did somewhat better,
but even they couldn't compete with wines from Tuscany and the
northern regions. As throughout the world of advanced wine-making,
here too investments in technologies have helped improve quality.
Above all, the method of controlled fermentation at lower temperatures
allowed the production of fresh, balanced wines with flash and
nuanced flavor and aroma, instead of heavy, oxidized white wines.
Wine-producing southern Italy consists mainly of the areas around the port cities
of Bari and Brindisi on the Adriatic coast. The best reds come from the parched
Apulia peninsula, the sole of the boot of Italy, south of the road connecting
Taranto and Brindisi. Vines were probably planted on the volcanic soil there
by ancient Greeks who thus established the basis for Italian wine production.
To this day Aglianico, a deviation of the original Ellenico, which means Greek,
is grown. It matures very late, so it's grown only in southern Italy. It produces
large grapes with dark skins, from which heavy, dark red, full-bodied wine is
made. The Uva di Troia varietal has the same origin. It came from Troy in ancient
Greece, whose ruins now lie in Turkey. Another widespread varietal is Primitivo,
which geneticists discovered to be Zinfandel, widely grown in California.
Of course varietals popular elsewhere are grown in vineyards of this hottest,
driest part of Italy, but the domestics still predominate. Besides those already
mentioned, these include Gaglioppo, Monica, Nero d'Avola, Negroamaro, along with
the classic domestic varietals Catarratto lucido, Fiano, Falanghia, Grillo, Inzolina,
and Moscato. Naturally, fashionable Chardonnay and Sauvignon were also brought
in. In Sicily, sweet wine lovers can taste the fortified dessert wine Marsala,
which is sometimes compared with port.
The author is the editor of Hospodářské
noviny's IN magazine.
This glass funnel is a useful and at the same time elegant
tool for pouring wines into the decanter. CZK 500.
Available at: La Vecchia
Mělník Castle and the city center, 17-19.09. Mělník Grape Harvest,
Znojmo's historical grape harvest, 17-18.09. The first burčák
from this year's harvest. Free admission. Information - tel.: 466
Characteristics: Thanks to modern processing, the white
wine made from the old Sicilian varietal Catarratto lucido
has become a fresh, elegant, pleasantly aromatic wine.
Price: 221 Kč
||Rapitala Nero d'Avola
Characteristics: This wine is made solely from the old Sicilian
varietal Nero d'Avola, which gives it a sparkly, ruby color
and a bouquet of ripe red fruits.
Price: 221 Kč
Characteristics: A good example of a wine made from a varietal
typical of southernmost Italy. Markedly fruity taste
of ripe, healthy
Price: 178 Kč
||Vitae Sangiovese IGT (Indicatione
Characteristics: Chianti lovers can compare what the Sangiovese
varietal can produce in the sole of the boot of Italy, on the
Publia peninsula. The wine is full-bodied and well structured,
with a pleasant persistence.
Price: 155 Kč