Wine has long since been considered the staff of life in Italy and has fast become such throughout the civilised world. From the earliest times wine has been of importance as can be attested by early documention in poetry, paintings, hieroglyphics and cuniforn writings all in the praise of wines.
Wine is known as an antiseptic used often on the field of battle to aid the healing of wounds, as a warmer of chilled bones thus mulled wines, as a toast in celebrations of sealing friendship and business deals or , as I am sure Shakespeare would say, as a sweet prelude to courtship.
Vines, and their produce, were perfected by the Romans and by them spread the vine culture throughout Europe. The invasions of the many barbarian hordes into Northern Italy can be traced to the need for culture and the love of wine produced in these areas and of course the booty. That men were willing to die for such rewards speaks for itself. Thus earning Italy the title of ‘Enoteria’ the land of wine.
Let us not pretend to understand the fantasy language of the ‘Grand Cru’ adherants and the overinflated prices. That is for the people who indulge themselves or play at being wine cognoscenti. Wine is to enjoy, to savour, to enhance a meal and assist the flow of friendships but at the same time not to overindulge because at that stage one can no longer appreciate the finer points or nuances of wine.
At this stage , let me say, wines are are completely subject to one’s own taste so let the experts deliberate on rasperies, leather, nutty or fruity or even old socks taste. To my mind it is all hype and rather theatrical, but makes good reading and television. Only by trial and error can one find a wine that suits one’s palate although a guide can be of help. Whuich is why I have remained loyal to the wines of Italy. Not to say that I haven’t tried other wines other countries, I have but not often.
By this I have come to understand and know the wines of each region and not waste time becoming confused in the ocean of a cup of Bacchanalian delight. There are so many countries now producing good wines that the confusion is unevitable. Wines from the New Worlds, America, Chile, Australia and Argentina, to name a few, are more interestesd in producing wines of over 13% alcohol that it is unsafe to have even a glass of wine on a nightout or at home.
I shall attempt in the next articles to pass on my ideas on good wines at reasonable prices and some of the expensive variety for possibly exceptional occasions.