by Fred McMillin
for December 16, 1997

From Venice with Love

The Culinary Scene...3000 Years Ago

  • The Chinese are cutting ice and storing it for refrigeration.

  • Moving west, Judea's King Solomon's household consumes 10 oxen on an ordinary day, since he has "700 wives and 300 concubines."

  • Further west, wine-growing has been established around Venice by the Etruscans and is booming by 1000 B.C.
The Rest of the Story: Wine-growing is still booming around Venice. The district is called Veneto. It is Italy's largest producer of "denominazione di origine controllata" or DOC wines. Its best wine is the popular white Soave. One of the best Soave producers is Roberto Anselmi, who critic Carlo Petrini tells us, "has turned his father's 15 million-bottle winery into a gem of Italian enology." One of his Classico Soaves is particular appealing to the American palate...a single varietal grown in a single vineyard...fermented in wood after pressing at low temperatures...with one year in oak and one year in bottle before release.

The vineyard is the Capitel Croce, six acres of volcanic, south-facing terrain. "Capitel". (little chapel) refers to a small chapel adjacent to the vineyard.

The varietal is the Garganega, which evolved in that area many centuries ago, and there is a lot of it. In fact, the acres of Garganega is about equal to that of the entire Napa Valley (roughly 33,000). It has an almond character, detectable in the Croce.

I put a bottle of Roberto's 1994 up against whites from seven other wineries in my last blind tasting. It was not the most expensive, but was the most appreciated. It was voted BEST OF THE TASTING, garnering 10% more votes than the second-place bottle. It clearly is one of Roberto's gems.

The Wine:
1994 Soave Classico, D.0.C., Capitel Croce Vineyard
Roberto Anseimi Winery, Veneto, Italy
Contact—If you can't reach the winery in Italy at (045) 7611488, try Marsha Palanci in NYC at (212) 605-0370.
Price—$15 range

Postscript: For more about Soave, see the July 30, 1997 WineDay titled "Romeo, Juliet and Soave."


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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