Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stage 10: Campi Bisenzio — Sestola

Giro_2016_00-10Stage 10 is a 219 km mountain stage in the Apennines. It is a little taste of what is ahead of the riders. As a Norwegian, I really liked that the only Norwegian rider in the Giro, Vegard Stake Laengen, rode in to third place at the time trial i Chianti.


Today, May 17, is the national day (constitution day) in Norway. For a celebration, I think there shoul be a good sparkling wine. The wine the give as a prize after each stage is a Prosecco from Astoria. We will come back to Prosecco later. Proscco is a good wine on a nice summer afternoon. I have som good memories from drinking Prosecco at outdoor cafe tables in Venice. But for celebration I will have something better. I am currently in France, so for me it will be champagne. If I should go for something Italian, it would be Franciacorta.

To include Giro d’Italia in the celebration, it should probably be a pink, sparkling wine. But to be hones: I prefer the whites. Rosé wines are made from red/black grapes, with a short maseration with skin contact. All the color is the skin, the juice is white, also from red/black grapes. Most of the rosé sparkling wine is made from a white wine, with some red wine added. Some years ago , EU proposed to allow procution of rosé this way. It stirred up a lot of controversy, and the proposal was withdrawn. When served a glass of this rosé blend, a producer of rosé said that it was nothing wrong with the wine, but is was not rosé. It was a pink white wine.

I have only tasted two pink sparkling wines made as proper rosé. One was a cremant d’Alsace, and the other a pink champagne from Jacquesson. At a Jacquesson tasting, we were told that one year they had som prolems with their pinot noirs. There was something with the skin, but I do not remember the detalis. To avoid getting the juice conamitanted from the skin, they decided to make a Blanc de Noirs, a white wine made from red/black grapes. If it was not good enough for their standards, they would sell it to a producer of cheaper champagne. But when tasting the wine, all agreed that the Blanc the Noirs was better than the rosé. After that, they stopped producing the rosé, which i some way is a pity. For it is one of the better rosé champagnes I have tasted. But if the Blanc de Noirs is better, they are probaly right in what they are doing.

But I am getting ahead of myself. We have to go back to today’s stage.

We start in Tuscany, leaving Tuscany without visiting any classified wine districts. We then enter Emilia Romagna. Emilia Romagna can be divided into Emilia in the west andt north east, and Romagna the south eastern corner. The border between the two are not clearly defined.

Emilia Romagna produces large quantities of wines that cannot be said to be very interesting. We stay up in the mountains, to the south in the middle of the region.

Again I have problems mapping the wine map and the road/stage map. But I think the riders will be in Colli Bolognesi DOC, when turning to start the climb up to Pian del Falco. Colli Bolognesi is regarded as one of the better districts in Emilia. A large number of different wine types are produced there, more than 50. This makes it difficult to pick wines as good representatives of the district. It is said to be the main area for the white grape Pignoletto. About one half of the wines produced are from Pignoletto, of which half is sparkling and and hallf is still. I would go for a white Pignoletto, probably a still wine (I am rather picky when it comes to sparkling wines).  Wines made from “international” grapes in this area, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay are also good.

The most well known wine from Emilia is the lightly sparkling (fizzante) red Lambrusco, made from the grape Lambrusco. Frankly, Lanbrusco is not my favourite. And for this reason, I have not tasted it for some time. But when reading Gambero Rosso Italian WInes 2016, I think it could be time to give it another try.

“Continuing the journey, we arrive in the world of Lambrusco, wine country that is becoming more populated with new players each year. The area is brimming with energy and is changing the philosophy of its production model: Lambrusco has stopped being a wine brand and is slowly acquiring a territorial identity. (…) Sorbara is the driving force in this revolution and once again Bomporto is in lead position for the comunity.”

In the 6th edition of World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson wrote that it was the slight, but unmistakable resemblance of Coca Cola that had made Lambrusco popular in USA. In the 7th edition, he (and Jancis Robinson) are much more positive about Lambrusco.

Lambrusco is a wine you should taste, and then you can get your own opinion.

Italian Wines 2016

1890142174Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

The  World Atlas of Wine

1845336895If you will have only one book on wine, “The World Atlas of Wine”, by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is the one you should have. It is a classic, and it is now in its seventh edtition. It is a beautiful book with nice maps and excellent content. It covers the entire world,  but still with an emphazis on "The Old World".

Buy it from Amazon UK or  Amazon US.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2016

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