Friday, July 4, 2008

Great Italian Bordeaux

Her mood ever since she left the Veneto region and her favorite red wine, Venegazzù! (grrrrrr...)

There exists no myth about eating and drinking well in the province of Veneto; the region oozes simplicity paired with the utmost taste and elegance but then, what is to be expected from a wealthy province laden with luscious history, art and architecture? She sits back in the chair watching the passing parade, the trams, the pretty people, the locals, (and yokels) briskly walking the sidewalks (somewhere in some city in Italy) while she ponders returning to Vicenza, to see if the city affects her the same as it did the first time.

Inviting, leisurely in spirit, rich in history and unbelievable eye candy (yes, of course you are all thinking the other kind of eye candy), but this is about architecture (as her ears pick up chuckles from her readers). She finds herself truly dreaming of another glass of that stupendous Venegazzù and an afternoon on the square with a spritz and an evening dining outside with centuries before her eyes. Lord, that Venegazzù was such a luxury on the palette; paired with super, stinky aged cheese from the region, Puzzone di Moena, sliced tart green apples and limpid honey from the mountains around Asiago, life could not get any better.

This fabulous cheese is made from cow’s milk using a semi-cooked mixture. The salting of the cheese is done in a brine solution lasting two days. Starting at 15 to 20 days of age, the forms are bathed weekly with tepid water, which creates a perfect impermeable patina allowing the forms optimal fermentation within the milk mixture protected by this patina. Aging occurs in cool environments with a high level of humidity where the cheese is placed on wooden shelves and turned twice weekly. The average aging is two months minimum with eight months the maximum. A nibble of this and a sip of that red and she is in serious heaven.

Venegazzù is a Bordeaux blend using 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 5% Malbech. The origins of this wine spring from a historic vineyard called Hundred-vines with vines that are 50 years old and also in part from the Falconera vineyard. This prestigious wine is produced in Montello on the infamous iron rich soil of the area. This high mineral and iron content determines the structure of the wine as well as, bestowing it a long life. The vines are planted in a density of about 3,000 plants/hectare yielding on the average 5,800 kilos/hectare. This stunning wine ferments for about twenty days in oak fermentation tubs, (fifteen of those twenty days are on the skins) at a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. Once the malolactic fermentation has ceased, the wine is put to rest in barrels of French oak (of different weights) for 18 to 24 months and then refined in the bottle for one year.

Of the two versions of this lovely red liquid, is Capo di Stato I.G.T. Colli Trevigiani by Villa Spineda Loredan a Venegazzù. This supreme blend has been listed by a French publication; “100 vins de légende” or, among the hundred wines in the world for either their history and top quality can be considered legendary by all standards. This Venegazzù Capo di Stato is the first true Italian Bordeaux blend. The other one, is Venegazzù della Casa, I.G.T. Colli Trevigiani, another historic wine from Loredan Gasparini. This other important Bordeaux blend displays right out of the starting gate, true magnificence and luxury. This is made with the same grapes using the same composition as the main wine of the winery but with one big difference; the yield per hectare is higher and the aging time in the oak barrels is shorter, eighteen months or less. Nonetheless, the wine is still a perfect display of that ultra special character of the plant varieties, the rich soil where it is grown as well as combining the distinctive personality of the Bordeaux blend. This wine presents and maintains the elegance and balance of the greatest Italian wines and this creature needs to grab her car and head straight to the winery on a buying trip!

Yes, now she is smiling (once again, angel)!

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