Would You Like in on a Secret?

9 May

The other day, I blogged about how I’m finding new musical acts. Today, I’m going to tell you about how to find different wines than you are used to drinking.  Wines you’ve never heard of before. Wines that will take you to memories of meals on an Italian piazza where the wine and the meal melt together with conversation and music into one blissful experience.

How many of us have been to Europe and found a different way of dining that was very appealing?  Somehow, the dinners stretch into hours long conversations. Someway, that fish is cooked perfection. Somehow, that wine seems to pair seamlessly with that fish. How do they do that? How is it the meals in Europe can be so hard to duplicate stateside?

Sure, we have wonderful restaurants, wines and produce.  But rarely do things all seem to click together and combine to make the sort of experience I’ve had abroad.

I think this is partly due to the American mindset. Restaurants are a business as much as anything else here.  So is wine production.  Maybe not quite as true in Europe. While many of their restaurants and vineyards are corporate run, many are still family held and run for a different reason, to express their love of food and wine. And of all the ingredients in that memorable meal in a southern French restaurant, I believe it is the wine which brings everything together so perfectly.

Subtlety, mastery, refinement all begin running for the door when corporations take over wine making.  Yet, there are still wine makers in our area who try to make wine the right way. As my host father Gerard in France used to say “c’est correct, ce vin” That win, it is correct.  In other words, it is made well, in the right way.

After many years in the corporate world, Don Chigazola realized that how you apply corporate bottom line to medical or technical devices might be fine. But if those same measures of corporate structure are applied to wine marketing, it may mean a lesser quality wine.  In his travels to Italy, he came across that smaller, family-run wine and unlike most of us, he decided to try to bring some back home for the rest of us to share.  In the land of his ancestors, northern Italy, he saw an opportunity.  Perhaps he could import some of these family wines to America?

I was lucky enough to meet Don last week. My friend Bob Andrews brought me over to Don’s home to evaluate a few of his newly arrived wines.  Greeted happily by the family dog, we sat down to fresh fruits and cheeses and began with a sampling of an incredible Prosecco.  Many of you may have tried Prosecco. Many of you might find it sweeter than you like. If you are like me, and like a more dry sparkling wine, try this wine!  There is hardly any residual sugar.  What a wonderful bottle of bubbly!

Don and Debbie The real treat was next though. While Don heated a bit of Italian sausage in a tasty marinara, he poured a side by side comparison of the 2008 and 2009 vintage of “Le Marognole Amarone” from the Veneto (near Venice) region of Italy.  I was fortunate to have had the 2008 vintage once. Bob had bought it for my mother’s table during my Dad’s celebration of life last fall.  It was a generous gesture and a memorable wine indeed.

Time has only helped the 2008. This is a wine that will blow you away. It is a wine full of complexity. There are berries and spice. But what I notice most is how long it stays with you on the taste buds.  The 2009, same grapes, same wine maker, is quite distinctly different.  Both are wonderful.  The 2009 would do well today or even many years from now. The 2008 is lovely today and, according to the wine maker, may just cellar for 10 or even 20 years and continue to improve.

Don clearly has a talent for finding unique wines and his website sells them at very fair prices.  If you like wine and would like to find something new and different, check out Chigazloa Merchants. I think you’ll like what you find!  


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