North American Sommelier Association Archives - Please The Palate
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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (October 13, 2015) Aglianico, a black grape grown in the southern regions of Italy, is often considered the “Barolo of the South.” But, perhaps Barolo is the “aglianico of the north”? After all, aglianico is one of the noblest grapes, shrouded in mystery and fog. It may not be easy to produce or pronounce (can you say "ah-li-YAH-nee-koe"?) but wine people love it, and they should. A seminar led by the North American Sommelier Association explored this fantastic grape. The origin of aglianico is debatable. It is among some of the oldest of grapes in existence. Some say that the name comes from Hellas (Ellenic) and was brought by the Greeks as early as the sixth century B.C. But linguists have not found a connection between the words “aglianico” and “ellenico." The Latin name for “Greece” was “Graecus,” not “Hellenicus.” Others argue that it might be a native varietal from southern Italy. While the debate of origin continues, one thing known is that the DNA is not related to any modern grape. Aglianico The aglianico grape is a small dark berry that grows in small to medium size clusters. While it buds early, it is late ripening and is harvested late in the season. The resulting wine is an intense ruby red, shifting to garnet as the wine ages. It has notes of dark berries, violet, bing cherry, spices, leather, cloves and tobacco. It is a difficult grape to grow and vinify, resulting in harsh tannins and acidity that need long aging. The resulting wines are complex, elegant and full of personality.
Seminar 4: Prosciutto di Parma and the Wines of Emilia Romagna In every region in Italy, there are specialty food products as well as the wines produced.  So of course the ideal way to taste wines is paired with one of these local products.  For the most recent wine seminar from the North American Sommelier Association, the wines of Emilia Romagna were paired with Prosciutto di Parma. Yum! Emilia Romagna is known for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati and Bugatti; it is home to the world’s oldest university in Bologna and is the cultural and political link between the North and the South.  Emilia Romagna is also known for Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, Prosciutto di Parma and Lambrusco. 9156522724_4832a7c93f  
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!