The call of the Dolomites!
The Italian Food, Wine and Travel blogger group – Italian FWT – will be looking at the delights to be found in the mountains of Italy’s northeast for the month of August. And you are invited to participate! Details are to be found at the end of this post.
What are the regions?
Although the northern part of the Veneto certainly qualifies, this month is more about the less-seen and less-represented portions of the northeast: Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.
The regions are marked by the Alps, with the Dolomites being the standard-bearer and affecting both the climate and the geology of the entire northeast. The history here is culturally rich, the languages: diverse. They are also two of Italy’s five semi-autonomous regions, with a great deal of decision-making power over their own affairs.
Sharing borders with Austria in the north and Slovenia in the east, the primary official language of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia may be Italian but, regionally, you will also hear Slovenian, German and, of course, Friulian.
The multitude of indigenous grapes found here are some of Italy’s most exciting varieties, with names such as Malvasia Istriana (Malvazija Istarska – one of the world’s best Malvasias), Picolit, Ribolla Gialla, Vitovska, Schioppettino and Pignolo (one of my favourite reds) contributing to a fabulous array of possibilities.
The most northern in Italy, the province of Südtirol is known as Alto Adige in Italian, and it used to be part of Austria – or, more accurately, it used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Things have been quite exciting politically since then, of course.
Nearly two-thirds of the people here speak a dialect of German, and there is much shared culture with the peoples of nearby Switzerland and Austria. You can even hear Alphorns in the mountains here from time to time.
The grapes demonstrate this heritage as well, with plenty of Weissburgunder (Pinot Bianco), Grauburgunder (Pinot Grigio) and even Spätburgunder (Pinot Nero) augmenting the Schiava (Trollinger), Chardonnay, Moscato Giallo and others.
Trentino is south of Südtirol but is also very mountainous. Although the provinces of Trentino and Südtirol are thrown together administratively, their history is somewhat different. Yes, Trentino was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire as well, but, perhaps more importantly, it was a bishopric until relatively recently – and the counter-reformation Council of Trent was held in the cathedral in Trento, the capital of the province, in the 16th century.
Lagrein and Teroldego are two of the most well-known native grapes, but what is perhaps even better known from the province is TrentoDOC, one of Italy’s finest traditional-method sparkling wines, made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Meunier.
What are we doing?
We are focussing on the region and its wines, with an eye towards food that goes with them. There will be blog articles and a twitter chat on Saturday, August 3rd, as well as a fair bit of social media activity. In the week following the Twitter chat, we will check out and comment on each others articles.
How to participate?
If you are a blogger or otherwise writing about wine, we’d love to have you take part! Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest. You will need to:
- get me the title of your article as soon as possible, but please not later than Thursday, August 1st – I will be preparing a mailout including all the titles with links for inclusion on each participant’s post
- post the article itself sometime on the 2nd or 3rd of August
- include links to the other #ItalianFWT participants in your post, with a brief description of what the event is about
- if you have time, participate in the twitter chat that will take place at 11:00 Eastern Time on Saturday, August 3rd. The questions for the Twitter chat will be made available in the next couple of days, so you can schedule your answers if you cannot participate live
- get out there on your social media and publicise what’s going on!
Social media tags should include #ItalianFWT so that we can all see what each other is doing – and it is essential for the twitter chat.