Ah, Venice. Starting spot for the first European trip the Sweet Partner in Crime and I took together a decade ago. We have many lovely memories of Venice itself, but we didn’t get a chance, that time, to leave the confines of the city to head for the hills of Treviso, where wine grapes grow plentifully.
The eastern portion of the Veneto DOC region, named for its proximity to Venice, is best known for production of white grapes, particularly Glera, which is the primary grape in Prosecco, as well as numerous others. The western, warmer portion of the region, towards the city of Verona produces largely red grapes, including Corvina – the primary grape in both the light-styled red Valpolicella and the tannic, raisinated Amarone.
It’s to the eastern portion that we turn our eyes for the last set of tasties that the Wine Fairy graciously brought to our door to spawn some Italian reminiscences. We had the chance to try a couple of whites from Gran Passione, a producer in the Veneto, both of which retail for around $13.
Gran Passione Prosecco DOC – Prosecco, the ubiquitously tasty Italian sparkler, continues its rise in US popularity, thanks to the help of many friendly neighborhood bartenders working this wine into various craft cocktails that have caught on with Millennials. In Italy, however, these warm-weather creations are served as traditional aperitifs. This particular Prosecco, which is dry and full of peach and green apple fruit, makes a lovely drink on its own. I had this alongside a lovely mushroom quiche the Sweet Partner in Crime whipped up on Memorial Day and it was an excellent pairing. However, I thought it really shone as the base of an Aperol Spritz – over ice, pour two shots of Gran Passione with a shot of Aperol (a reddish bitter liqueur) and a splash of club soda. Stir gently and squeeze in a lime wedge. Enjoy summer.
Gran Passione 2017 Veneto Bianco – The other sample was a crisp white – a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Garganega – the latter of which is the primary grape in an Italian wine called Soave. This crisp, acidic blend, has a floral aroma backed with a hint of baking spice. The main flavor reminded me of lemon crème. Fuller bodied than many Italian whites, this is a bold enough white to handle multiple food duties – from summer salads with strawberries and goat cheese to roasted chicken to salmon with a lighter sauce. Nicely versatile and quite a decent value.