A great character in a movie once said:
“In a way, all of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!”
Italian wine is my “El Guapo,” which is to say that I am certain that there are many people within the wine world that have the same problem. Why? It is simple, not only because they produce more wine than any other country in the world, but the DOs, the DOCGs, the amount of different grape varieties that are planted, the list goes on…
I want to know as much about Italian as possible, so here is what I will do. I will go there and emerge myself in Italian wine, Italian culture, Italian food. All that is Italian (Northern Italian to be specific), I will experience by going there.
In the next few weeks, I will take a trip out to Milan and explore northern Italy and ask both broad and specific questions such as:
1.) Why all the different grape varieties? Does it matter more to Italians, Americans, or wine dorks like myself?
2.) Are there more serious forms of Pinot Grigio?
3.) Is there still a rift in Barolo between wineries that use large oak barrels and those that use small French oak barrels (I will explain this later on, once my questions are answered)?
4.) Is there any more tradition to Italian winemaking? How much of it is mechanized today versus, say, 20 years ago?
5.) Is George Clooney gonna hang out with me?
6.) Can’t there be more beer than Peroni?
7.) Piemonte, Tre Veneze, Prosecco: these are wine players on a world stage… What are the unsung heroes that are massive in value and over-deliver in taste and quality?
8.) Pairing local with local: that works with a lot of wine and cheese/food styles around the world; does it exist in Northern Italy?
9.) Just how different is “Old World” style winemaking from “New World” winemaking?
I am going to conquer my personal El Guapo!