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When you think about pinot grigio, you might think of water and lemon. You might think of a wine that does not really express anything. But pinot grigio made well can have real character - aromas of fresh apple, minerality, balance and aging potential. My tasting of the Valter Scarbolo pinot grigios from Friuli, Italy are beautifully expressive wines. As Lara Scarbolo explained, "pinot grigio is the wine of our heart." And that is why it is the Please The Palate "pick of the week." Scarbolo is located in Friuli in the Northwest of Italy, a region is bordered by Austria and Slovenia. Friuli is the door to the Balkans and influenced by the Alps, hills, flats, beach and Adriatic sea. All of these influences contribute to the complexity of the area that consists of sand, clay and stone soils. The winters are cold, with eastern wines from the Balkans and marine breezes from the Adriatic. The Alps, like big shoulders, protect the region from the northern winds. The summers are warm with diurnal shifts that give the grapes good acidity. Being located at the same parallel as Bordeaux, although the area is known for white wines, they also produce red wines.
This article originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (October 2, 2015). When one thinks of pinot grigio, one might think of that light colored, almost clear, white wine that is refreshing but really has no identifying features. Is it all the more authentic when you drink one from Italy? Does it matter if you can’t really taste the difference from one to another? As far as many pinot grigios are concerned, they could have been produced by the same company but have different labels on them. There is nothing that makes them stand out. But, here is one that will. Vigne del Malina Vigne del Malina is a family-owned winery in the Friuli region in Italy. This is not your Santa Margarita pinot grigio. Located in Grave, which means gravel, the winery is located in an old river bed with the mountains surrounding. Ironically, the two streams around the winery, the Malina and the Ellero, draw the shape of a wineglass (which is the image of the winery logo).
Seminar 2: Prosecco If there is anything to remember here, it’s this: Champagne is a Sparkling Wine but not all Sparking wines are Champagne. Champagne must be from the Champagne region is France. Prosecco is a Sparkling wine but not all sparkling wines are Prosecco. Prosecco can only be from Veneto and Friuli in the north of Italy. Prosecco has been a misused term. It has come to mean any sparkling wine from Italy made in the Charmat Method.  But this is not correct.  Prosecco is a grape; it is an area.  It is more than a style. It has a terroir, a place, a history. Not to be mistaken for Champagne, Prosecco is bright and fresh. It is a perfect aperitif wine. And, Prosecco is Italy’s number one export!