Monday, June 7, 2010

Prosciutto & Prosecco

For the first time in 28 years, the celebration that is Italian Day was coming back to Commercial Drive. In the intervening years, The Drive has witnessed car-free days, the parade of Lost Souls, the Dyke Parade and the wild abandon that accompanies the spontaneous eruptions of national pride that erupt following big soccer matches - whether that exuberance be Italian, Brazilian, Portugese or Greek.

With vendor booths, stages and displays lining a kilometre of The Drive, the Day was being set up to party and revel in all things Italian - food, music, art, fashion, cars and, of course, soccer.

I was thinking that a stroll amongst the gathered throng, coupled with maybe a panini and some wine (possibly adding another bottle to The List), would be just the ticket.

One small problem. It rained on our parade. Big rain. And persistent to boot. Everyone, that I'd been chatting to about wandering over with, decided to take a pass because of the weather. Living mere blocks from The Drive, I was "obligated" to celebrate the neighbourhood. I delayed my departure for as long as I could in the hope that the skies would clear up, but, naturally, the rain started getting worse - as soon as I hit The Drive.

After a sandwich, a couple opera arias, a bit of dancing in the streets and a lot of wet, I headed home to prepare for a bit of our own Italian Night. The day might have been a bit of a bust, but there was no reason that we couldn't bring a bit of Little Italy home.

466. NV Cantina Breganze Prosecco Vespaiolo Vino Frizzante (Veneto IGT)

Spirits on The Drive might have been dampened a tad, but a little bubble should be enough to brighten anyone's spirits. This Odyssey blog of mine is taking Boo and I on quite an adventure at times and it has us trying different wines and combinations that we wouldn't have thought of previously. Tonight, I just decided to stick with the Prosecco throughout dinner. Lately, I've been hearing all sorts of wine-folk saying that sparkling wines can accompany almost any food. I figured we'd be pretty safe with melon & prosciutto and a crab ravioli.

I'd picked up this bottle at the recent Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival and, despite the fact that this was apparently Cantina Breganze's third appearance at the Festival, I couldn't find out a whole lot about the winery after the fact. Indeed, even a visit to their website didn't help much as I couldn't seem to navigate myself through any pages that gave information. The website did, however, refer to "1000 gower-members;" so, I assume the winery might be a cooperative.

The winery is located near the small town of Breganza, found a short distance to the North-West of Venice. The region is gaining more prominence on the wine scene as it is trying to modernize to take advantage of export markets. Having been granted DOC status in Italy, the region allows the use of eleven varietals that have a historical heritage in Breganza. One of the facts that I didn't know, but found interesting, was that the inclusion of "Vespaiolo" in the wine name is actually a reference to the fact that the wine is a blend of Prosecco and Vespaiolo grapes - 55% and 45% respectively. I'd just assumed that it was some sort of reference to a region or a proprietary name.

The Vespaiolo grape is grown almost exclusively in the Breganza region and is primarily known for its acidity and aromatic characteristics - a good reason for its use in sparkling and frizzante wines. An additional property - that was included in the varietal's one paragraph entry in the Oxford Companion to Wine - is that its high sugar content is particularly attractive to wasps, "vespa" being Italian for "wasp."

This also means that I get to add another grape to my list and attempt to join the Wine Century Club. The wine not only added a little sparkle to our evening but it buoyed my spirits with its new varietal. Guess it's just another reason to celebrate Italy. Here's also hoping that the weather will be more cooperative should Italian Day come back to The Drive next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment