In my Tuesday night wine course I continued my comprehensive coverage of Italy, rather than skimming through a few well known examples of the peninsula, we (the class) rolled up our sleeves and continued to get nerdy with a few of Italy’s less than famous wines like Schioppettino, even throwing in a white wine from Slovenia (my first) while finally figuring out Lambrusco.

We picked up where we left off, to the Southeast of Alto Adige, beginning with Veneto, a region known for a large portion of Italy’s wine export market. The Veneto is the home of Amarone—the most famous wine in the region, made from dried grapes, yielding concentrated fruits and higher alcohol—as well as pumping out Valpolicella in high volume. Valpolicella consists of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara and more interesting than the grapes that make it, are the different styles of the wine, from Nouveau to Reciotto (the grapes are dried to concentrate the sugars). The Veneto is also known for the white wine Soave from the Veneto, made from the curious grape Garganega and a little help from Trebbiano. Soave is known to produce fragrant, light bodied wines that are fresh and vibrant.

Next was the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia well known for its white wine production but it was also the area where we learned of Schioppettino meaning the gunshot, dubbed for the loud pop it would make when opened due to being bottled young and finishing its fermentation in the bottle.

We packed up and continued south, pushing into Emilia-Romagna where I would finally get my introduction to Lambrusco. Something seemed off-putting about that wine, when I would see it in the bargain bins at retailers; I had never tried it.

I learned that it is teeming with acid, young, fresh, sweet and slightly sparkling (in the classic style) while possessing lower tannins and alcohol. It is the perfect partner for prosciutto because the Lambrusco’s high acidity can pierce the fat in the pig leg. It also has an affinity for the salty cheeses of the region. I will never look at the bargain bin Lambrusco the same way, it represents a value driven wine.

We concluded our tasting with Pigato in Liguria; we touched on of one of the most idyllic areas in all of Italy—Cinque Terre—studying the area perched on the hills bordering the coast of the Ligurian Sea.

In all, we tasted through these wines:


08 Fumamelli Valpolicella

09 Prà Soave Classico

09 Corte Majoli Amarone

09 Kabaj Rebula

06 Gigante Schioppettino

07 Bisson Colline Del Genovesato Bianco Pigato

08 Tennuta Uccellina Bursôn Longenese

NV Venturini Baldini Lambrusco Dell’ Emilia


A few standouts among the many that I tasted were the Schioppettino, possibly influenced by the name, but I detected on the nose + palate smoke (from the gun shot?), mushroom, wood and cherry. It was full-bodied, a little more than moderate tannins; medium acidity and moderate flavor intensity but the flavors finished long and were favorable. Everything was in sync.

The Fumamelli Valpolicella was another standout with notes of cherry, tobacco and fresh cut eucalyptus on the nose, it was dry with full body, moderate transitioning into heavier tannins with a long fruit filled finish. Youthful and very good.

The Lambrusco was the last wine that really interested me. Probably not the best introduction judging by the grimace on my teachers face (obviously there are better out there), but, I was interested in the food pairing powers of the wine, more so than the dirty notes of soil and funky cheese that were prominent. The mouth feel was bright and exciting and I look forward to purchasing a different version in the future to taste a fresher core of fruit and experiment with pairings (an upcoming blog idea for sure!).

I tasted through eight different examples of Italian wines (one Slovenian too), seven of which were new to me. I came away from this Tuesday’s class knowing way more styles of wine in Italy thanks to my professor and I am now happy to report that I have 376 wines left to taste before my Mission-to-500 is complete. It is getting better all the time!