You may have heard all about the Dolce Vita and wondered whether the last 18 months have done anything to change it, but I’m happy to say that despite perhaps going through one of the toughest periods since the war, ‘the good life’ is still alive and well in many parts of Italy.
Being married to an Italian woman, but living half there and half in the UK has some advantages and disadvantages. For instance, obviously, the weather is much better over there, so I can enjoy a meal al fresco at a restaurant with her in the Summer without really worrying whether it will rain or not. Meanwhile back in the UK, there is a good chance I’ll be bbq’ing holding an umbrella in a raincoat in the middle of August.
Saying that, try and find someone to fix your internet over the weekend in Italy, you could be looking a very long time. It’s a cliché that Italians seem to be quite distracted while driving and they think good road manners are a sign of extreme weakness. I’m not complaining, it’s just that everything’s just a bit different and for every good thing in Italy, there’s often an equally annoying thing to balance things up.
However, when it comes to Wine most Italians won’t stand for anything less than the very best. I quite like some of the new British wines, but I have to admit we do still have some way to go to match Italy for sheer variety and quality. One of my favourites is Lugana, produced in the hills around Lake Garda.
Lugana is a white wine with excellent aging properties and due to its high natural acidity of Turbiana grapes and the minerals of the Basso Garda. The Lugana Wine represents 90% of the region’s total production, ideal drink to accompany an aperitif, pizza or sea fish.
Veneto is known for producing excellent wines, the region is also world-famous from its sparkling wines to effervescent wine such as Verduzzo or Rabosetto or Prosecco DOP.
In fact (a bit like champagne and Cornish pasties who both have DOC’s), in order for a wine to be called Prosecco it must be manufactured within the nine provinces of the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.
Large production and variety of wines
Italy has the perfect climate conditions for growing grapes and for this reason the country is considered the biggest producer in the world, with its 2000 varieties. Apparently, most of the best stuff never leaves this region, but since 2008 production has increased from 150 million bottles to 600 million bottles and growing in 2018. So, it’s definitely still expanding in popularity and there are a number of good online distributors who do sell a large range of high-quality wines for every taste and pocket, from sweet or dry sparkling wines to fizzy white wines and red wines.
As the nights close in and the clocks get ready to go back, I have to be honest, I do yearn for the ‘dolce vita’ a simple glass of wine, aperitivo and good conversation. But at least my internet is working!