“Wine is the epitome of a territory, a culture, a way of life.” – Ernest Hemingway
I think that the study of Italian wines begins with two things: A map, and Google Translate… Or an Italian speaking friend willing to translate and drink wine with.
Of course, speaking Italian is a bonus.
The tradition of Italian winemaking has its roots in highlighting the best aspect of a particular region. It seems simple enough, until one realises that wine is produced everywhere in Italy, with over a thousand indigenous grapes (only few of which are of commercial value).
On a positive note however (far be it for me to discourage anyone from appreciating Italian wines), I have discovered over the years (through master classes, books, shows, tastings, and trips to the country) that the easiest way to understand Italian wines is by immersing in their culture, which has a huge emphasis on food and wine pairing… Preferably with friends and/or loved ones (though a map would help, too).
This is why I was greatly appreciative of the wine dinner held by Zonin in one of the newest restaurants in Uptown BGC, Flat Iron. It was a fantastic tour of several Zonin properties in Italy, and a great way to showcase some of the nicest wines each region has to offer.
Backtrack: I was looking forward to the dinner for a few reasons. I would drink so much of Zonin’s Soave in one of Manila’s posh lounges with my girl friends during my single days, hence a sentimental attachment to the brand (in fact one of my friends immediately reacted to one of the photos during the event expressing her glee). I was also thrilled at the notion of meeting the brand ambassador, Fraser Jones, brought in especially for the evening’s event. I was equally curious to see how the dinner curated by Chateau 1771 Group’s Chef Vicky Pacheco and Manila wine legend Cecile Mauricio would turn out.
We started off the dinner with the Zonin Prosecco DOC Black Edition Spumante Brut. The remarkably well-structured and well-balanced Prosecco from Northeast Italy was amazingly refreshing, with hints of ripe cherries and elegant acidity.
We moved on to the Zonin Pinot Grigio Friuli Aquileia DOC (from Cervignano del Friuli in Northeast Italy). The 100% Pinot Grigio was wonderfully aromatic… A light, dry, and fruit forward take on a Pinot Grigio. The Castelo d’Albola Chianti Classico DOCG (from picturesque Tuscany) had notes of violets (typical of a Sangiovese), a great silky texture, and went great with the grilled chicken and pork we had.
My favorite for the evening was the Principi de Butera Symposio (from Terre Siciliane in the Caltanissetta province of Sicily). The wine was produced in a property once owned by nobles (like Sicily’s first prince, Ambrogio Branciforte, who resided there beginning 1543). The wine was a beautiful blend of French grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot) that reminded me of black forest cake, with its notes of ripe cherries and chocolate, and its creamy texture.
For a sweet ending, we had the Zonin Moscato from Lombardia (close to the Swiss border) made from 100% Moscato Bianco. It was an excellent dessert wine because of its pleasing, fragrant flavours that were anything but cloying.
If there’s anything that the evening proved, is that there’s a Zonin for everybody, catering to people’s flavour preferences, from anywhere in their 11 properties spanning 7 out of the 20 regions in Italy.
What’s your favourite Italian wine? Cheers!
Special thanks to Ms. Edna Diaz of BestWorld Beverages and Mr. Fraser Jones of Zonin
Zonin wines are available through BestWorld Beverages, Unit 1504, The Centerpoint Building, Julia Vargas Avenue, corner Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telepone: (+632) 637-8491 to 94