IN THE DRINK
One of the pleasures of boating is a quiet little – responsible – drink.
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BY PAUL ANTROBUS
Italians worth knowing
Wines from the Alps to Sicily JUDGING from the sparse shelf space Italian wines get in our supermarkets, their attractions are much underrated by UK drinkers. This does not do justice to the genre. There is a whole spectrum of wine styles from within the one country to be enjoyed, worlds away from the old Chianti-in-a-basket souvenir. Italy is a distinctly long and narrow country. As a result, it is blessed with a diverse spread of climate, from the Alps in the north to the sunny ‘heel’ and Sicily in the south, and grapes and wine-making regions to go with it. The result is wide choice of wines to suit every occasion, palate and price. Another consequence is there are 20 official regions and a convoluted range of wine classifications, which might be a tad confusing but are worth sorting out. For help, look out for the Canaletto Autentico Italiano brand. This company offers under the one name wines from six of the most interesting regions Trentino, Veneto, Abruzzo, Sicily, Puglia and Oltrepò Pavese - authentic Italian wines it claims the Italians would drink themselves. The bottles are labelled with the regional names but, better still, there is a very useful map on the back to
show instantly where in the country that origin is without having to decipher the name on the front or get the atlas out.
Pinot Noir di Pavia is from Lombardy in the north of the country, quite delicate but full flavoured. Primitivo di Puglia, is a rich and velvety red from Italy’s most southern wine region. ‘Primitivo’ means ‘first’ and not ‘primitive’, and is thus named because the Puglia grapes used are the first in the year to be harvested, in late August. Pinot Grigio delle Venezie is a crisp white from the Veneto region which stretches northwards from Venice. With an appealing floral aroma and plenty of fresh fruit flavours, it is ideal on its own or with creamy pasta sauces and fish dishes. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is always one of my favourite Italians and you’ll find there are usually several different brands available. The Canaletto offering is rich and full flavoured, as Montepulciano should be. Muller Thurgau Trentino comes from the Trentino grapes grown in the foothills of the Alps. A fresh and lightly
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perfumed white. Sicily produces some good wines and Canaletto’s soft and voluptuous Nero d’Avola Merlot di Sicilia is typical of the excellent reds of the Vittoria region in the south of the island. There is also a Canaletto Chianti and a Prosecco to complete the full house. Canalettos are not the cheapest on the shelf, expect to pay just over £7, but they are good, safe and distinctive enough to confidently take to a supper party. It is unlikely you will find all varieties in all supermarkets. I found Pinot Noir and Primitivo in one of my local stores and Pinot Grigio and Chianti in another so you will need to keep your eyes open for them. As you look you will find other Italians which individually or collectively cover the same regions; some at lower prices and very good buys. Previously I have featured the Montepulciano and the Primitivo varieties from the Italia brand
(elegant bottle with just the ‘I’ on it) which is quite widely available. There is also the reasonably priced Valpolicella de Veneto and Merlot de Veneto, both highly recommended for al fresco drinking. The brand has no name but the fun labels
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feature Italian icons like a gondola and the leaning tower of Pisa. They’re all still available in one of my local stores at good-value prices. So follow the regions and enjoy your own tasting voyage of Italian discovery.
TIDAL PREDICTIONS MARCH 2012 Contributors Bob Satchwell, Shelley Jory-Leigh, Sticky Staplyton, Paul Antrobus, Geoff Holt, Emma Slater, Jane Swan
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Variations on HW Dover PLYMOUTH WEYMOUTH POOLE COWES (IOW) LOWESTOFT ABERDEEN LARGS HOLYHEAD BRISTOL CORK/CROSSHAVEN BELFAST LOUGH
HW HW LW HW HW HW HW HW HW HW HW
-5hrs 30mins -4hrs 45mins +5hrs 45mins +30mins -1hr 45mins +2hrs 30mins +1hrs -45mins -4hrs 15mins -5hrs 45mins DOVER (S), +1hr (N)
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