Franciacorta’s Renaissance: Acari + Danesi & SoloUva

Giovanni + Nico (from their own website TerraUomoCielo.net)

Giovanni + Nico (from their own website TerraUomoCielo.net)

Franciacorta, a celebrated sparkling wine/region of Lombardia, has recently been given a chance to make a radical shift.  But unlike scenarios where a revamp or major production change comes about due to quality problems or a slump in market interest, this one is entirely due to Giovanni Arcari, Nico Danesi and Andrea Rudelli’s passion for their wine, the region, and an important word in the wine world: terroir.

Franciacorta is simultaneously a region in Lombardia, a wine, and an (evolving) method of production.  The first bottle-fermented Italian bubbly to achieve the highest quality appellation DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), its wines are highly esteemed domestically and drawing increasing attention abroad.  Wines are composed of Chardonnay and/or Pinot Nero (=Pinot Noir) and can also have up to 50% Pinot Bianco (=Pinot Blanc) in the blend.  Traditionally, and exclusively until rather recently, they have followed the Metodo Classico, or sometimes called “Champagne method” of secondary bottle fermentation:

Metodo Classico or the Champagne Method of secondary fermentation:  The liqueur de tirage (=a mixture of wine, yeast, and sucrose- traditionally* in the form of cane or beet sugar) is added to a special bottle with a base wine (=a wine or blend of wines that is typically lower in alcohol and still, which in areas like Champagne can be composed of wines from multiple vintages).  This special bottle is sealed and the wine starts to ferment a second time, raising the alcohol level and absorbing all of the CO2 that normally escapes during the fermentation process.  That trapped CO2 is responsible for those delicious and desirable bubbles the modern drinker has grown to know and love.  Once yeasts have consumed all of the sugars present in the bottle, they die and fermentation stops.  Most producers of this style allow the wines to rest in that same bottle on the sediments for anywhere from a few months to a few years before eventually disgorging (=removing the sediment) and re-bottling/corking for release to the consumer.  This contact with the lees during and after secondary fermentation are responsible for the texture and bready and biscuity notes associated with Champagne and other bottle fermented wines.

The Trouble with Terroir & Imported Sugar:  For at least 50 years Franciacorta producers have mimicked the Champagne production process, including adding imported sugar for the secondary fermentation’s necessary liqueur de tirage.  This troubled Giovanni, Nico, and Andrea because utilizing Brazilian or any other foreign (=non-grape/non-Franciacortan) sugar in the process seemed to them to compromise the wine’s sense of identity – its very terroir (=unique characteristics and sense of place) becomes masked.  Giovanni explained to me that by making a wine like this “you taste the method and not the wine”.  Further, Champagne is a region with often unaccommodating weather to grapes, making it difficult for them to properly ripen and making sugar levels in grapes at harvest a wild card most vintages.  Champagne’s method of sparkling wine production is therefore custom designed for their specific climate and needs.  “In our region we don’t have the same problem with harvesting fully ripe grapes….so there isn’t any need for adding [foreign] sugar” Giovanni explained.  Inspired to find a new and more appropriate way for Franciacorta, Giovanni and Nico began experimenting in 2002 with their own grapes and wine.

Myself + Giovanni Acari + Soon-to-be-drank Franciacorta

Myself + Giovanni Acari + Soon-to-be-drank Franciacorta

A Terr(oir)ific Result:  By 2008, after several years of trial, error, and fine-tuning, they were at last able to share the (fermented) fruits of their labor.  The new method that they created sounds misleadingly simple:  the grapes’ sugar levels are closely monitored for 40+ days leading up until harvest, ensuring that they harvest fully ripened grapes.  This already departs from the traditional method where grapes are harvested early and before fully ripening – something which is often necessary in Champagne but rarely in Italy.  A precise amount of the grape must (=unfermented sugar-rich juice from the freshly harvested and crushed/pressed grapes) is removed and frozen for later when it is used as their all natural liqueur de tirage, added to their single-vintage base wine in the bottle for the secondary, bubble-creating, fermentation.  And voilàa stunning Italian sparkling wine made using only its own natural grape sugars.  The result is a wine that doesn’t taste like it is an Italian wine dressing up in Champagne clothing….rather it tastes like nothing else except Franciacorta.  It’s a less heavy and very elegant sparkling whose notes of bread and biscuit do not upstage the magnificent fruit aromas and flavors that rightfully remain the star of the show.  What’s more, Giovanni and Nico chose to give their trademarked method away for free- other producers in Franciacorta are able to use their same method as they please…something which Giovanni and Nico hope and dream they will all do!

The Wines:  Acari + Danesi as well as SoloUva is available now on the international market (including in the USA).  Depending on state/local taxes, bottles should retail for around $30-40 USD, making this an affordable luxury for any occasion from graduation to everyday dinner.  While every wine will be from a single vintage, the blend’s proportions of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco vary according to each harvest and style, as does the period of ageing.  To date they haven’t included Pinot Nero in a blend. Look for:

  • Dosaggio Zero: a dry, bright fruit-driven sparkling named for the fact that no dosage/dosaggio (=mix of sugar and wine added to bottles before release) is added at all.
  • Satèn: 100% white grapes only (Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco), ageing varies by vintage but Satèn styles are typically apple, lemon, brioche beauties to savor.
  • SoloUva:  the masterpiece of winemaker Andrea Rudelli and Giovanni Acari, this is a Franciacorta Brut made entirely of Chardonnay grapes and entirely from the harvested grapes’ sugars – hence the name “only grape”.

franciacorta_ad

For updates and amazing photographs, follow their TerraUomoCielo blog or for those of you less fluent in Italian, check out Indie Wineries: Acari + Danesi. For info on where to buy this stunning stuff in New England, check out The Wine Bros.

Aubrie Talarico

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A Grape By Any Other Name: Trebbiano & Ugni Blanc

321px-Ugni_blanc_raisin*A Grape By Any Other Name posts are about exploring different grape varieties known by other names or nicknames, both inside and outside of Italy.

Trebbiano:  Ci sono tantissimi Trebbiani.  There are tons of “Trebbiano” out there.  To those unversed in the Trebbiano family tree, it might be about as confusing as the 17 different yet same-named Aureliano Buendias from the epic novel 100 Years of Solitude.  To make matters worse, some grapes called “Trebbiano” aren’t even of the Trebbiano family!  Don’t fret, it’s easier to understand than it may initially appear.

Trebbiano, AKA Ugni Blanc in France, is one of the most common varieties planted around Italy and in some parts of France.  Pliny the Elder spoke of it in the 1st century AD as Vinum Trebulanum, marking the earliest mention of the grape in written records. In Italy it’s synonymous with crisp, clean, citrusy (and sometimes lackluster) white wines.  In France it’s synonymous with Cognac.  Trebbiano is permitted in some 80 DOC/G wines around the Italian Peninsula, more than any other Italian grape variety.  It’s often used as a blending partner due partly to the ease of growing it (it’s particularly frost resistant) and the refreshingly high acidity it can add to a dry or even dessert wine.

 Trebbiano has many names, variations, and misnomers:

  • Domestically (=in Italy):  Trebbiano Toscano (=both the most bland and planted of the bunch), Trebbiano di Romagna, Trebbiano Giallo, Trebbiano Romagnolo, Procanico
  • Internationally (=everywhere else): Ugni Blanc (France, South America, South Africa), Tália (Portugal)

Misnomers: 

  • Trebbiano di Soave= Verdicchio
  • Trebbiano di Lugana= Verdicchio, aka Turbiana
  • Trebbiano d’Abruzzo= Bombino Bianco

Why so many names and misnomers?

Partly for linguistic differences and partly because this old variety has mutated into different sub-varieties over time, with the Umbrian Procanico being arguably one of the highest quality versions out there.  As for the erroneously named Trebbianos that are in fact not Trebbiano nor even related, we must consider that precise DNA mapping of grape varieties is a relatively modern ability and endeavor.  In the past if something looked like a Trebbiano, and walked like a Trebbiano, why not assume it actually was one?  Further, grapes sometimes were named after geographical features nearby, like the Trebbia river in Emilia-Romagna.

Some Italian Wines with Trebbiano:

Orvieto Classico (Umbria) – Simple, easy-drinking, lemon, apple, white blossom.  Typically inexpensive and a good alternative to Pinot Grigio for less experienced Italian white wine drinkers. 

Frascati Superiore (Lazio) – Light, inexpensive white wine composed of a number of indigenous grapes from the Rome area.  “Superiore” on the label indicates grapes of a higher quality and should translate into a wine with better balance and richness than its non-superiore counterparts. 

Soave Classico (Veneto) – An appellation that has previously suffered from over-production and over-expansion but some very nice examples featuring smaller percentages of Trebbiano Toscano can be found still, especially in the “Classico” areas. 

Vin Santo (Tuscany) – A renowned Tuscan dessert wine perfect for dipping almondy biscotti in after dinner.  It’s been around since at least the middle ages, produced with dried grapes and barrel ageing.  Trebbiano is often among the grapes used in this blend.

 

Aubrie Talarico

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What Wine Pairs with Slayer and Vivaldi? Pairing Music & Wine

Cantina Muzic, Friuli-Venezia Giulia www.cantinamuzic.it

Cantina Muzic, Friuli-Venezia Giulia http://www.cantinamuzic.it

The relationship between food and wine and the benefits of pairing them correctly is a well versed topic.  Food and wine are meant to compliment each other, work together, each making the other more enjoyable.  But have you ever thought about pairing what you drink with what you are listening to?

Tuscan Wine School, Florence

Tuscan Wine School, Florence

When I started formally studying wine, I was struck by an important aspect of wine-tasting that I had never before considered: the ambiance of where you drink.  The brightness, colors, smells, temperature, and sounds all very much contribute to how you taste, interpret, perceive and even enjoy (or not) wine.   Would you enjoy your favourite wine equally in any and every setting?  In the spirit of Sam-I-Am’s green eggs and ham: would you drink it here or there, indoors next to a roaring fireplace, in a plastic chair on a sun-bleached beach, in the rain, or on a train?  Studies suggest that you would not have the same wine experience in all of these different situations, despite the fact that it’s the same vino in your glass. Even something as seemingly subtle as lighting is proven to have dramatic effects on taste and perception, (“Ambient Lighting Modifies the Flavor of Wine”, Journal of Sensory Studies. Volume 24, Issue 6, p 797–832, December 2009.) meaning that tasting the same glass of wine in a dim room versus and well lit room actually has a measurable effect on us.  The atmosphere around your glass is much more important than previously thought.  This is the reason why a wine classroom looks nothing like a swanky wine bar.  Though a velvety, romantic, candlelit wine bar is a great place for a date or a relaxing drink, it might not be the best place to seriously explore what’s in your glass….and it has everything to do with all of the elements surrounding the wine as much as the wine itself.

Pairing your music and your wine is therefore an interesting exercise with two senses we don’t often consciously unite: hearing and taste.  It turns out that sound is among the important senses in wine-tasting (and taste in general) too. Take a stroll through scientific journal articles on the subject and you’ll find that this is a well studied (albeit not completely understood) topic, covering not only wine and taste perception and preferences but also coffee, whiskey, and food. According to one particular study, there is even a connection between musical pitch and specific instruments and how we interpret tastes (Crisinel A-S & Spence C. 2010)!

How might we pair wine and music?  In the absence of equipment to scientifically match pitches, instruments, and flavors I feel like the easiest solution is to match personalities.  Every wine (and beer/cocktail for that matter), like music, composers, or bands, has a unique story, place, and character.

I’ll give you an example of a mismatch with beer to illustrate how this might work:  Imagine drinking a can of Coors Light while listening to Mozart’s Requiem in D minor or Chopin’s Ballade No. 1.  Seems weird, right?  With no intended offense to Coors, I’d argue that the reason this pairing feels wrong is due to the immense difference in the characteristics/personality of the music and this specific beer.  The simple and mass-produced personality of a can of Coors just cannot compliment such rich, complex, unique, and intense music.  Now imagine listening to those same pieces of music while sipping a Trappist Westvleteren 12 – one of the most complex and special beers in the world.  Works much better, doesn’t it?  No fancy attire necessary!

So which wines goes best with Slayer, Vivaldi, or Otis Redding?  Read on as I serve up some Italian and non-Italian pairing suggestions!

"Bottiglia e calice di franciacorta" by Nautinut

“Bottiglia e calice di franciacorta” by Nautinut

Contemporary Hip Hop/ R&B, or Opera  –
Franciacorta, a prestigious bubbly wine from Lombardia.  Widely considered the Champagne of Italy, it’s definitely an appropriate companion to the likes of Usher, Pharrell, Missy Elliott, or Jay-Z due to its combo of premium price, glamour, class, decadence, and celebratory spirit.  Why it works with opera relates not only to the luxurious character of both opera and this wine but also to its sense of place: Milan, renowned for its opera scene.
Non-Italian pairing= Champagne, the renowned French sparkling symbol of luxury, class, and indulgence.

Metal, Goth, Industrial
Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, wine from the Campania region.  This wine comes in both red or white variations, and grows on the slopes of Vesuvius.  This is the very same volcano responsible for nearly wiping ou20150312_172455_Gesler Stt this entire area’s population in 79 AD, including Pompeii.  That dark little factoid I feel makes it quite perfect to pair with Bauhaus, Siouxsie, Swans, and especially Einstürzende Neubauten.  The legend behind this wine is that as Lucifer fell from heaven into the underworld (which perhaps he entered via the volcano), he grabbed onto the sky and ripped it.  When Jesus saw the descent of this falling angel-turned-devil and torn sky, he wept, and where his tears fell grew the vines responsible for this wine.  Lacryma Christi literally means “Tears of Christ”.  For this reason, I feel it would pair well with Slayer, Iron Maiden, Bethlehem, and Lamb of God.
Non-Italian pairing= Madiran of France, an inky, nearly “black”, extremely tannic wine full of flavors of leather and black fruit.  I feel this cup of darkness and earthy tones would accompany of the aforementioned music quite well.

Motown, Soul, Funk- anima
“Anima” by Marramiero, OR a beautifully balanced Chianti from the heart of Tuscany by Querciabella.   Anima literally means “soul” or “spirit” and is a delightful and lively white wine from the Pescara area of Abruzzo.  Querciabella is a biodynamic vineyard, meaning they grow their grapes with great focus on earthly and astrological harmony giving the necessary life force to the vines.  Plus, Tuscany is in many ways considered the “heart” of Italy, linguistically, viticulturally, and artistically.  Both are definitely wines to help put some rhythm in your step to the likes of Otis, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, James Brown, and Sam Cooke.
Non-Italian pairing= A biodynamic Savennieres by Joly’s  Coulée de Serrant.  Nicolas Joly is the modern French godfather of biodynamic viticulture.  His Chenin Blanc based wines of the Loire Valley are as impressive as they are soulful.

1974_Bolla_AmaroneProgressive rock, 70’s rock, Arena Rock –
Amarone della Valpolicella, of the Veneto region.  Amarone is a hearty and powerful red wine made with raisined Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes giving an alcoholic boost and concentrated flavors.  What wine could better accompany all those pyrotechnics, power ballads, and complete lack of subtly than this costly and made-to-impress red wine??
Non-Italian pairing= California Zinfandel from Howell Mountain.  Dense, tannic, bold, concentrated, complex, and maybe even a bit of a show-off – this red is also a perfect companion to some Rush, Aerosmith, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, or Styx.

Pop, Electro –
Prosecco.  This sparkling wine from the Northeastern part of Italy is full of fun bubbles and made to be a light and easy companion to a pre-dinner/post-work aperitivo.  The refreshing and approachable nature of this wine makes it the perfect pairing with pop or electro.  It’s an affordable glass-filler for that makeshift dance party in your apartment to Kap Bambino, Depeche Mode, The Cure, NKOTB, Madonna, Britney and whoever your secret guilty pop pleasures might be.
Non-Italian pairing= NV sparkling from Argentina, New Mexico, or South Africa.  These offer inexpensive and smile-inducing bubbly solutions that tend to be friendly to most palates and easy enough on the stomach to allow some bouncing around any living room or dance floor.

Experimental, Post-Hardcore, Free Jazz-
Arboreus Umbria IGT – Trebbiano Spoletino by Umbrian vintner Paolo BeaetichettaTrebbiano06This Italian orange wine is created in a seemingly unconventional manner (fermentation with white grapes’ skins following ageing on skins and lees, and no added SO2).  The result is a carefully constructed and unique throwback to wines of antiquity, and though it may seem odd to modern wine-drinkers this more natural approach and experimentation in vinification is taking us back to our roots.  I can think of no better “unconventional” wine or style to pair with Fugazi, Sun Ra, James Chance and the Contortions, The Ex, John Cage, Cecil Taylor, and even some post-punk like Sonic Youth.
Non-Italian pairing= Oyster River’s “Morphos” sparkling wine from the state of Maine.  This lightly bubbly bubbly is a symphony of unusual:  unusual methods (=spontaneous fermentation, no filtering, no additives, etc), unusual grapes (=French-American hybrids), and unusual cultivation tools (=a horse!).  This is a coherent and brave new wine experience fit for any experimental or post-hardcore musical companion.

 Aubrie Talarico

Sources and/or articles or material worth checking out:

On why music changes what (we think) we taste, Charles Spence and Ophelia Deroy, Iperception v.4(2); 2013 PMC3677333 Crisinel A.-S., Cosser S., King S., Jones R., Petrie J., Spence C.

A bittersweet symphony: Systematically modulating the taste of food by changing the sonic properties of the soundtrack playing in the background. Food Quality and Preference. 2012;24:201–204. doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2011.08.009 Crisinel A.-S., Spence C.

As bitter as a trombone: Synesthetic correspondences in non-synesthetes between tastes and flavors and musical instruments and notes. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 2010b;72:1994–2002. doi: 10.3758/APP.72.7.1994.

The Tasting Experience: Our Five Senses and Some of the Ways They Influence Each Other, Lily Kubota

Wines and Spirits: Understanding Style and Quality, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, Revised Edition 2011

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Leonardo da Vinci’s Truly Old Vines

lastsupperLeonardo da Vinci’s fresco The Last Supper, located on the refectory wall of the Milanese church Santa Maria delle Grazie, is among one of the most easily recognized works of Italian art.  But did you know that payment for it was a vineyard in the center of Milan

Ludovico-Sforza-1495

Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (circa 1495)

The fresco, like most other projects of this nature, was commissioned by a wealthy patron: Ludovico “Il Moro” Sforza, the Duke of Milan.  Although monetary compensation for art supplies was still commonplace, cash payment for the actual job was seen as sort of trashy or impolite.  For this reason it became more common during the late 15th century for material goods (read: silk, property, horses, etc) to be given instead – hence why Ludovico drafted up legal paperwork for a donation of a vineyard to the very noble Leonardo.  Leonardo’s family had a history with making wine, so space for vines in his new city of residence was an appropriate gift to the Tuscan artist.  What’s more the vineyard was part of Ludovico’s new palace gardens – quite an honor!  None of them could possibly have known what misfortune the fresco, vines, and people involved were to have after the paint dried.

The first (literal) stroke of bad luck of them all involves the “fresco” itself.  Though it’s a celebrated masterpiece in terms of its dramatic narrative and subtle illusionism, this work of art proved to be in many ways a technical failure.  Leonardo’s experimental painting technique differed from traditional fresco and meant that it started to deteriorate even before it was finished.  This ineffective dry plaster technique combined with centuries of neglect and poor treatments resulted in it being a mere faded shadow of what he must have originally envisioned.  In 1499 (just two years after the fresco was completed) Milan was invaded and taken over by the French, causing Leonardo to leave the city and his vines.  Ludovico was promptly imprisoned, where he remained until his death in 1508.  When Leonardo returned to Milan to work for the new French rulers some years after the invasion, his vineyard was given back to him unharmed.  Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, but not before drawing up a will which left the vines to Andrea Salai (a longtime student and apprentice) and Giovanbattista Villani (a loyal servant).  Over the years the vineyard passed through the hands of many different owners.  It was eventually destroyed during World War II and abandoned.

leonardomalvasiaFive hundred years later the land where Leonardo da Vinci planted vines is still part of the palace’s walled garden in central Milan.  The project to resurrect Leonardo’s vineyard seems to be going swimmingly thanks to the efforts of folks at the University of Milan, geneticists, oenologists, and the family who own the property today.  Researchers were able to discover what grape variety Leonardo had planted 5 centuries ago from surviving remnants of the roots and plants still underground:  Malvasia di Candia – a common white variety and found today in many white wines in Lazio!

The gardens with the replanted vines will be open to the public in May of 2015, coinciding with the start of Expo 2015, uncoincidentally hosted by Milan.

Cheers!

Aubrie Talarico

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3 Italian Wines for St. Patrick’s Day

greenSt. Patrick’s Day is upon us!  The patron saint of Ireland and his feast day are unsurprisingly associated in most people’s minds with Irish heritage, shamrocks, the color green, green-stained rivers, tall glasses of green beer, and well, college kids or Expats wearing silly hats and getting embarrassingly inebriated in pubs around the world.

But there is an Italian connection to this Irish day!   Below are three Italian associations and their appropriate wines for St. Patrick’s Day:

1.  Though there is no denying the inherently Irish cultural association with St. Patrick, Patrick’s saintly status with the Catholic church is reason number one why he shares a very real connection to Italy.  St. Patrick’s Day has been an official feast day in the Catholic church since the 17th century.  The story of the saint speaks of his becoming a Christian priest and spending the end of his life converting the then pagan Irish to Christianity.  There are in fact Christian origins to the many symbols (=the color green, shamrocks, etc) associated with Patrick and his feast day.

St. Patrick Day wine suggestion= Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio.  Literally the “tears of Christ”, this red or white wine from the Campania region seems an appropriately religiously themed wine for the occasion.  Both wines are blends of local grape varieties (=Greco, Coda di Volpe, Piedirosso, Aglianico).

lacyrma2.  The Ides of March.  St. Patrick’s feast day is pretty close to the Ides of March (~March 15th), an important period of pagan religious celebrations in the Ancient Roman calendar as well as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C in Rome.  March was the first month of the year at the time, which meant it was a period full of feasts and celebrations involving copious amounts of drinking. What’s more, the Ides was specifically dedicated to the supreme deity Jupiter, when a high priest led a sheep to be sacrificed to the god.  Though St. Patrick isn’t associated with sacrificing sheep, he is associated with sheep for his time spent being a shepherd.

St. Patrick’s Day wine suggestion= Roma Rosso DOC, San Marco.  This red wine from Rome’s region of Lazio is a delicious blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese.  Plus it’s got a statue of Julius himself on the label…just perfect for the occasion, albeit a bit morbid.

romae3.   The well of St. Patrick (Il pozzo di San Patrizio) in Orvieto, Umbria.  During the sacking of Rome in the 16th century, Pope Clement VII had fled and taken residence in nearish Orvieto.  Soon after he ordered the construction of a massive well which when completed in 1537 reached a depth of 53 meters (about 174 feet).  One legend of St. Patrick talks about Jesus appearing to him in Ireland and showing him either a deep cave or well which was said to be the entrance to Purgatory.  St. Patrick’s Well in Orvieto then was so-named by predecessor Pope Paul III because its incredible depth suggested a connection all the way to the same Purgatory legends suggest St. Patrick once saw.

St. Patrick’s Day wine suggestion= Orvieto Classico DOC.  This white wine from the area of Orvieto couldn’t be more appropriate.  Typically a blend of grapes such as Grechetto, Trebbiano (aka Procanico in this region), and Malvasia, it’s a bright wine full of citrus, apple, springtime blossoms, and almonds.

2013-03-30 18.16.34

Cheers,

Aubrie Talarico

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Wine Quotes: Amo il Vino…..

amoilvino“Amo il vino talmente che odio chi mangia l’uva.”

~Origins unknown

Translation:  “I love wine so much that I hate whoever eats grapes.”

Cheers!

Aubrie Talarico

 

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Tuscan Wine & Vine Proverbs

tuscanvinesTuscany is a region rich with wine, food, and history so it should come as no surprise that it has so many of its very own wine related proverbs!  Here’s a small collection of just some of them.  For other Italian proverbs involving food or wine, take a look at my previous post: Fun with Italian Wine Proverbs.

Un canestro d’uva non fa vendemmia.
Literally= A basket of grapes doesn’t make/mean a harvest.
Meaning: This seems rather close to the English proverb “One swallow doesn’t a summer make.”  In other words, don’t get too excited or assume too much too fast.

A chi piace il bere, parla sempre di vino.
Literally= Those who like to drink, always speak about wine.
Meaning:  As far as I have understood, this is a pretty straightforward proverb.  But part of me wonders if it isn’t also poking some fun at the fact that wine makes people talk more!

Chi semina buon grano, ha poi buon pane; chi semina il lupino, non ha né pan né vino.
Literally= He who plants good grain will then have good bread; he who plants a little wolf will have neither bread nor wine.
Meaning:  The word “lupino” can mean either a little wolf or lupin beans.  This pun works out well, because in both cases- whether you plant lupin instead of grain or grapes or plant a wolf who will eat it all – you will end up breadless and wineless.  Perhaps it’s similar in meaning to the English “You reap what you sow”.

Chi vuole tutta l’uva non ha buon vino.
Literally= He who wants all of the grapes doesn’t have good wine.
Meaning: In some ways this is a proverb on patience, using the metaphor of allowing grapes to ripen fully before picking.  It suggests to not pick all your grapes (out of fear someone might steal some of them) before they are ready lest your wine turn out bad and endeavor less successful.  Closest English proverb I can think of is “Slow and steady wins the race”.

Il vino nel sasso, ed il popone nel terren grasso.
Literally= Wine in the stone, and melon in the fertile land.
Meaning: Grapevines are typically grown in less fertile soil (sometimes stoney or gravely too) in order to encourage less foliage and more berries.  Melons on the other hand need fertile soil.  Quite simply a proverb about each thing having its proper place.

Poca uva, molto vino; poco grano, manco pane.
Literally= Few grapes, lots of wine; little grain, short of bread.
Meaning: A little wine can be enough but a little bread finishes fast (and won’t be enough).  I can’t think of an English equivalent.

Vigna al nuvolo fa debol/poco vino.
Literally= Vines under the clouds make weak/little wine.
Meaning: Too little sun doesn’t ripen grapes properly and lower quality or amounts of wine can result.  Perhaps one could use this metaphorically, for example if someone were to say that the government has cut money for education, I might use this proverb to suggest that funding (the sun) education for our children (the vines) is key to creating a better future (wine) for us all.

Se piove per San Barnabà, l’uva bianca se ne va; se piove mattina e sera, se ne va la bianca e la nera.
Literally= If it rains for [the feast day of] St. Barnabas, the white grapes will go away; if it rains day and night, they’ll go away the white and the black [grapes].
Meaning:  St. Barnabas’ feast day is June 11th, which is an important time during the grape growing season.  White grapes are more delicate and would be the first to go with a little bad weather (=rain and hail), while consistent bad weather might destroy both white and black grapes.

Chi ha vigna ha tigna.
Literally= He who has vines [also] has ringworm.
Meaning:  Rather than literally ringworm, this proverb speaks of an annoyance that inevitably comes with something that requires as much work and care as a vine.  In other words, he who has vines also has a lot of discomfort and worrying (and physical discomfort too that accompanies such work). Might be something like the English proverb “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”

Aubrie Talarico

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