Sunday, 1 April 2012

Vineyard Naturalist & Linguine with Clams

Your intrepid reporter THE GONDOLIER'S WIFE is an avowed naturalist, be it on the Lido beach, or in the vineyard. That's why I find myself inside the majestic Villa Favorita, in the Veneto countryside, sipping a glass of torbid prosecco. 
a Villa full of wine
Dino and I, plus our friend, Giorgio, a big time wine buff,  are here for VinNatur. A wine extravaganza showcasing naturally crafted wines, produced by wine makers who believe in minimal intervention, organic or biodynamic methods in the vineyard, and definitely no chemicals or additives used in the wine making process. Their aim is to rediscover the true flavour of wine, by capturing the unique sense of place, where it was grown, (the French call this concept, terroir).

I've already tried a Sauvignon Blanc, like no other I've ever tasted, produced in the Czech Republic, plus a superb Pinot Grigio from Slovenia, as well as natural wines from all over Italy. 
Some of these traditionally made wines, have certain qualities, that remind me of the rustic bottles brought to our family home as gifts, by friends and relatives, when I was growing up in Australia. You have to remember, that when the first Italian immigrants arrived down under in the fifties and sixties, it was hard for them to find the produce and foodstuffs they craved. Therefore, back gardens were turned into mini farms. That's probably one of the reasons why Australian cricket champions with Italian last names are a rarity. In fact, most ball games were a no-no in Italian back yards crammed full with ripening tomatoes, precious zucchini plants, delicate fig trees, and the odd chicken. I even have vague memories of milking a goat my grandmother kept, when I was a little girl. And I'll tell you this, that goat was not the pet I thought it was!!! As sure as the Pope was Italian, it ended in my nonna's pot. 
Anyhow, the glass of torbid prosecco I'm holding, is the creation of the bow-tie wearing Mauro Lorenzon, legendary owner of "Enoiteca Mascareta" in Venice, plus "Costadila" vineyard in the Treviso hills. It's cloudy appearance is achieved by his preference for leaving the lees, or sediment, in the bottle "to add flavour and texture". He explains that you have to "ricominciamo dal fondo, pescando nel torbido, per vederci chiaro" (start from the bottom, searching through murkiness, to see ourselves clearly). Whatever the hell that means?? 
real prosecco

He also informs me that his prosecco can be drunk three ways, either cloudy, semi-cloudy or clear. Each way you'll have a different taste experience. I think the ideal terroir to drink his "real prosecco" as he calls it, could well be inside his venetian bar/restaurant, and that's exactly what we did the following night, with a heavenly plate of linguine con vongole (linguine with clams). By the way, if my mother is reading this post, I'm only a naturalist in the vineyard, not on the beach, I was just trying to sound exciting... sorry Marie. 
 Go to Linguine with Clams recipe

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