Thursday, March 02, 2006

How's Your Italian?

Do you know the difference between the DOCG and the DOC?

The Columbia Valley and sub-appellations are showing up with more and more Italian varietals at every crush. Don't be walking into a winery blabbing how you hate Chianti while sucking down the winery's finest Sangiovese or when you are offered a Barolo to taste, don't ask for a Nebbiolo instead. And no - - Piedmonte is not a town in Georgia.

Dean and Verdie Morrison of Morrison Lane Vineyards and Winery has truly been pioneers in growing Italian varietals. I visited their vineyard and looked at the very first Nebbiolo vine that was in the valley at the time. The Nebbiolo was probably the most virile, yet scruffy vine I had ever seen, too. Dean has family roots in the Piedmonte region so it was easy to see his fascination with this vitis vinifera. Morrison Lane also produces a Sangiovese, Dolcetto, and Barbera. Interesting enough, they also produce a Cinsault, while it's of French origin, it has important Italian roots to the Walla Walla Valley.

Take the test and you just might learn that Dolcetto is not the high singing pitch of Freddy Mercury and Barry Gibb.

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