What do you know about the Lombardy region of Italy? Not much probably. Neither did I until I attended an Italian Chamber of Commerce lunch today in downtown Vancouver. This region of Northern Italy is well known for cheese, charcuterie, wines, fresh produce and olive oil. Lombardy is also very well known for their cultivation of rice, which leads to the famous dish of risotto alla Milanese. We were treated to this dish prepared with wonderful arborio rice and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Such a rich and creamy dish. If you are interested, here is a recipe for risotto alla Milanese.
Cheeses of Lombardy
Some of the cheeses you may have heard of, and tried, from the Lombardy region include;
- Grana Padano
- Parmigiano Reggiano
and more. I did get to try a few of these cheeses. Two that I liked a lot, and went well with a sparkling La Travaglina Oltrepo Pavese DOC Pinot Nero (white) was the Carozzi Tomina di Capra and the Carozzi Capriziola. The former a light flavoured, soft goat cheese, and the latter a blue cheese, similar to Cambazola in flavour intensity, but firmer in texture.
Wines of Lombardy
In the north of Italy, you would expect cooler climate whites, and possibly Pinot Noir. You would be partly correct. Besides having Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay, for whites and Pinot Noir, you will also find Croatina, Bonarda, and Barbera (and other grapes too). What you would not expect, or at least I didn’t expect, was to find many sparkling or off-dry red wines. The first time I heard about sparkling red wines was sparkling Australian Shiraz, followed by learning about Italian Lambrusca. But today’s tasting really surprised me with sparkling Barbera and sparkling Bonarda!
In the title of my post you will see the name of a wine by Ca’ Montebello “Sangue di Guida“. This translates to the Blood of Judas, in reference to Judas from the Bible and the colour of the wine being blood-like. This red wine is a blend of Croatina and Barbera. Nice light ruby colour and light cherry and apple aromas. In the mouth, this wine is off dry, light bodied with slight effervescence to it. Apples and cherry flavours. Interesting, but what would you drink with this off-dry red? Asking the Ca’ Montebello representative, he said in Italy it could be an aperitif on it’s own, would go well with a flavourful cheese, or with a dessert. (7% alcohol you can enjoy this wine without getting too tipsy.)
Other wines I enjoyed:
- Gravanago Brut 2009. This sparkling wine was light lemon in colour. Light waxy, lemon and honey aromas. Dry on the palate with cherry, citrus and nutty flavours. Medium body, medium acidity with light bubble. Very enjoyable.
La Travaglina Oltrepo Pavese DOC Bonarda Le Zolle. This is one of the sparkling red wines at today’s event. Deep ruby in colour with cherry, red fruits, and some floweriness on the nose. Light body with light body and medium acidity. Dry with a light cherry flavour. Nice.
- Gravanago Oltrepo Pavese DOC Bonarda. This is another sparkling Bonarda, deep ruby in colour. Interesting nose with dark fruit and something similar but not quite cassis. Light bubble with medium plus acidity. Sour cherry flavour. A dry sparkler. Very tasty.
- Gravanago Moscato. Most moscato I taste has an orange aroma and flavour to it, but none was to be found here. I was really surprised at this wine and really enjoyed it. This wine was watery straw coloured. Nice nose with lychee and apple aromas. Light body, off dry with lots of lychee on the palate, along with a hint of citrus.
- La Travaglina Oltrepo Pavese DOC Pinot Nero. Watery lemon colour in the glass. Light citrus aroma. Medium bubble with lees and citrus flavours. Dry, light body with medium length.
Before signing off on this blog post, may I remind you that the Bonarda that you get from Argentina, comes from the vines brought from Lombardy. Which now leads me to wonder, are there any sparkling Bonardas in Argentina? Enjoy.