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Showing posts from June, 2020

Palomino Fino

This morning, we flew into Gibraltar and headed northwest to Jerez de la Frontera, often simply known as Jerez, the burgeoning economic and social capital of Cadiz in the Andalusian section of southwestern Spain. While Jerez has its own airport, we thought it would be nice to look out over the Strait of Gibraltar where we had an excellent view of Morocco in northern Africa before starting our 90 minute drive.
The climate in Jerez could best be described as subtropical. While winters can get quite cold, occasionally with low temperatures in the range of -18C/0F, summers remind one of the American southeast -- humid with daytime highs typically around 35C/95F and even having the potential to hit 45C/113F. Despite the humidity, however, it rarely rains in the summer; instead it just can make someone feel like they've been in the rain.
What makes the Jerez area ideal for growing Palomino Fino is the albariza (the z is pronounced like a th) soil -- a very chalky textured dirt that treats…

Terroir Matters -- Part 3

Continuing our exploration of terroir and not wanting to leave Napa Valley just yet, we decided to visit one fairly small winery today that simply on its property has multiple microclimates. Of course, this is not a forum to advertise individual wineries (we do occasionally mention one by name, but it's more to make a particular point than it is to showcase that winery). Here, we head north on Highway 29 into St Helena where it meets up with and becomes Highway 128. After leaving somewhat quaint St Helena, we continue north until the road veers to the west just before entering Calistoga. And, where 128 heads back to the north a bit, we continue west and climb the steep slopes.
We've entered a Cabernet Sauvignon zone. While they do plant other grapes here, they are predominantly used for blending into wines that are generally at least 95% Cabernet. Just off the Diamond Mountain Road, the main thoroughfare of the Diamond Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA), we find a somewh…

Terroir Matters -- Part 2

While we're in Napa, let's stay there and explore a bit more. Back in 1981, Napa Valley became the first American Viticultural Area in California and the second in the United States (the first was the Augusta AVA in the Missouri Ozarks -- seemingly not quite as famous as Napa Valley). Within Napa Valley, there are 16 separate AVAs (and growing), as well as a number of areas such as Pritchard Hill that are not part of their own AVA within Napa Valley. We're going to explore a few of the less known ones today to see what makes them special.
Let's start with the newest of the AVAs -- Coombsville. Coombsville received its designation in 2011. Located on the Napa River just north of the point where it dumps in San Pablo Bay, its proximity to the bay provides for much cooler weather than we find up valley. It also sits in the shadows of Mount George slightly to its east from which volcanic ash was deposited in the soils of the area. What we get from this is an ability to prod…

Terroir Matters -- Part 1

Today, we're headed to the place where I first experienced the magical mysteries of terroir in wine. But, before I get you there, what is terroir?
Roughly speaking, terroir is the environment in which the grapes grow. It's soil, it's climate, it's water flow, it's elevation, it's undulations in the ground, it's the direction in which sunlight hits the grapes. It's everything.
Silverado Trail and its very close surroundings are home to some of the finest wines in Napa and one could argue in the world. As many roads did, it started out as s dirt road for wagons, largely out of necessity. At the time, what is now Highway 29 (the other major north-south wine road in Napa Valley) was flooded. Needing a way to traverse north and south during those 1852 floods, the early settlers who had come west for the Gold Rush made themselves a road essentially to get from St Helena to San Pablo Bay and with that the Silverado Trail was born. It wasn't until about 20 ye…

Cooperage Matters -- European Oak not from France

Today is a special day. We are making two trips as we explored both eastern European oak and oak from the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and Portugal. And, to be clear, particularly on the Iberian Peninsula, the home of the finest Cork Oak trees in the world, we are talking about the oak used to make wine barrels.
We begin in the Zemplen Forest in Hungary. While there are many countries and regions in Europe that produce excellent oak for wine barrels, the Zemplen Forest is probably the most notable. It sits in the Carpathian Mountains roughly between Eperjes and Tokaji. This is northeastern Hungary. The soil here is rocky and volcanic in nature. The weather is cool and dry with winters getting particularly cold. And, we're up at altitude here. We're actually in the Zemplen Mountains, a small part of the larger Carpathian Range. 
Why do we care about all this? The combination of factors produces oak with a dense grain -- particularly tight striations. From the producer's standpo…

Cooperage Matters -- French Oak

We got a late start today as the approach into Dijon-Bourgogne Airport was fogged in (actually, I had computer problems after a Windows 10 automatic "upgrade," but a fogged in airport sounds like a more interesting story). Upon deplaning, we drove south and slightly west for about 50km/31mi to Meursault. We haven't been here since we tasted the local white wine made of Chardonnay, but we're back today for a different reason -- to explore the wine barrels made in the area.
Just as with wines in France, barrelmaking, or cooperage as it is known in trade, is a highly regulated artform. The highest quality cooperages, in fact, have nearly enough certifications to paper their walls. And, while they are willing to make barrels from any of French, American, Hungarian, Slovenian, Slovakian, or Russian oak, as well as from acacia, our focus today is on French oak, mostly from the forests in the central and eastern parts of the country. 
One of the major keys to choosing oak is …

Cooperage Matters -- American Oak

For the first time in our journey, we're breaking two rules. To begin with, we're not drinking a single wine today -- call it liver preservation. And, second, we're going to not just one, but two places. 
We're going to start the day in little Millersville, Missouri, home to some of the largest white oak trees in the US, if not the world. There's not much in Millersville, situated roughly halfway between St Louis and Memphis, besides oak. In fact, it's an unincorporated community bordering Cape Girardeau. And, Cape Girardeau, in and of itself, has an interesting naming history. It's neither a cape, nor part of a cape, and while it is named after somebody, it's not named after anybody named Girardeau.
In the 18th century, there was a rock formation overlooking the Mississippi that looked to some as they envisioned a cape. And, the largest trading post in the area was owned by a French soldier named Girardot. There you have it -- Cape Girardeau.
Missouri, fo…

Vitovska

We had a really difficult trip today. After driving nearly three hours to get from Paso Robles to San Francisco, we flew through Atlanta and Paris to get to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. From there is what nearly a two hour drive mostly westward into the Gorizia Hills and the tiny municipality of Brda, right on the border of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. We're here to drink wine from a grape you've likely never encountered, Vitofska, sometimes known as Vitovska Grganja, or just as Garganja.
Vitovska is a hybrid of a variant of Prosecco and Malvasia. It's a white grape grown almost exclusively in this little corner of the world in northeastern Italy and far western Slovenia. Since we have spent a lot of time in Italy, we decided to visit Slovenia.
Brda sits on the Soca River that forms the natural border of Slovenia with Italy. While itself sitting in a bit of a valley, Brda is bordered on the north by Korada Hill at about 810m/2660ft and to the east by Sab…

Viognier

Yesterday we drank wine from a Rhone grape, but did it in the US. Today, however we are headed to France to the tiny Appellation d'origine Controllee (AOC) of Condrieu. Located on the right bank of the Rhone near the foot of Mont Monnet, in the Condrieu AOC, all wines are made exclusively of Viognier.
We're roughly 45km/28mi south of Lyon and just to the south of a significant bend in the river. Interestingly, as we get just a bit to the north, we arrive in Cote-Rotie, an AOC in which the wines are predominantly red (Syrah), but often have a splash of Viogner in them.
Viognier is a warm weather grape. In fact, it has been one of the few white grapes that has really flourished in the extreme heat that we have seen in California the last several growing seasons. It also needs very little water for survival. To its detriment, the grapes are particularly susceptible to powdery mildew.
Among white wines, the Viognier of Condrieu is particularly high in alcohol, frequently exceeding 14…

Counoise

We were scheduled to fly across the Atlantic today to the southern Rhone region of France, but the weather most of the way across the ocean was just horrendous. With our appointed mission being to sample the Rhone grape Counoise, we had to find another option. We flew into Fresno, CA and headed south and then west to Paso Robles.
Sitting on the Salinas River, Paso Robles was known originally for its natural hot springs, but came to be a haven for mediterranean style plantings. It has some of the best production of almonds as well as olives and olive oil in the United States. But, in Paso Robles, they also make wine and the local winemakers tend to experiment with a lot of grapes that one might describe as off the beaten path.
The weather here is very good for grape growing -- very warm, often around 35C/95F in the summer, and quite dry, getting perhaps 30cm/12 inches of rain per year. The soil varies throughout the American Viticultural Area (AVA), but we have chosen to stay in the hill…

Chardonel

We're keeping the travel short today. After all, this has been a grueling three months or so taking you around the world day after day to taste both the finest and most obscure wines in the world. After sleeping at home last night, we're getting in the car. The drive north on Interstate 575 is rolling and bit twisty as the elevation continues to rise. After 30 miles or so, the interstate highway ends and we move to less traveled roads, first Highway 515 and then US highway 76 that traverses the border of Georgia from Tennessee across parts of North Carolina and then South Carolina. Of that selection, we're near the center, in the highest altitude part of the state bordered by the Chattahoochee National Forest to the southwest and the Nantahala National Forest to the northeast. We're here to drink Chardonel.
Chardonel, is a hybrid of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc. It's frequently grown in non-traditional wine producing regions because it stands up well to weather. Neit…

Pinotage -- House of Mandela

After days of drinking some of the finest Merlot in the world, we take an excursion today to the Western Cape Wine of Origin (WO) classification of South Africa. We're visiting the House of Mandela today -- yes that Mandela family where they produce wine from the grape that is most commonly associated with South Africa and South Africa alone, Pinotage.
When we last explored this grape nearly three months ago, we learned that Pinotage is, in fact, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault (until about 100 years ago, Cinsault was known in South Africa as Hermitage and from there we get the -age for Pinotage).
In this part of the world, the wine, particularly the red varietals, have a very distinct expression of terroir. If you pause. you can taste the local soil in the wine. Loaded with granite from volcanic magma during the Cambrian Period as well as kaolin and iron oxide in the clay, yet nearly phosphorus-depleted, the soils are ancient and distinct to this region apparently due to a seve…

Merlot -- Right Bank

Today, we come to the end of our Merlot journey and what better place to end than on the storied "Right Bank," the Libornais of Bourdeaux. As the Dordogne River twists and turns and nears its mouth at the Gironde estuary near the Bay of Biscay, we are at the birthplace of the finest Merlot-based wines in the world, at least the French would tell you so, the commune of St. Emilion and the much smaller neighboring commune of Pomerol. There, the Merlot grows so specially that contrary to the typical styles of Bourdeaux wines, many are entirely or nearly so made from the grapes of Merlot.
The emergence of Pomerol as a major Appellation d'origine controllee (AOC) is quite recent. Therefore, it was not included in the 1855 Classification, nor in the reclassification 100 years later. As a result, while it fetches the prices of the premier grand crus, even the wines of Chateau Petrus remain unclassified.
St. Emilion was classified in 1955 and does have four premier grand crus as w…

Merlot -- Bolgheri, Italy

It's not easy to get to Bolgheri, but we made it there this morning to drink wine made from Merlot, a grape that was once considered anathema in Italy. Named by Pope Gregory VII for its Bulgarian miltitary camp in the 11th Century, Bolgheri is a village of barely more than 100 people in the province of Livorno, Tuscany. As such, it is subject to the wine regulations of Tuscany.
It wasn't until 1971 that making wines fully, or partially, of Merlot was essentially sanctioned, albeit quite unofficially. You see, the Italians have always liked their vintners to make wines from grapes native to Italy, The evil Merlot, as well as others, was considered a French grape. Therefore, among other things, such a wine, if made in Tuscany, could not have any of the prized Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT), Demoninazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), or Demoninazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designations.
In 1971, the famous Antinori estate made its first vintage of Tignanell…

Merlot -- Napa Valley

We flew this morning from tiny Yakima Airport to equally tiny Napa Airport, refueling our twin-engine plane once along the way. Upon deplaning our driver met us and took us northeast to Silverado Trail where we headed north  and then northwest past some of the most storied vineyards in the United States following our path largely along the Napa River. Shortly after the river bent west, so did we, exiting to a small parking area.
We stroll into the vineyard where we will drink fine Merlot among the vines. We're on an alluvial fan created from the path of the Napa River, rocky with a nearly bare, loamy soil. Underneath, there are volcanic stones, absorbing heat during the day from the bright, and often torrid summer heat frequently exceeding 40C/104F in recent years. The scarcity of rain causes the roots to dig deep seeking nutrients. Since we are north in the valley, the summer ends a bit sooner, and grapes ripen earlier. These particular grapes have quite intense fruit.
We're ta…

Merlot -- Horse Heaven Hills, Washington

Today, we've traveled to the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) to drink some of the finest Merlot being produced in the State of Washington. Bordered by the Yakima Valley to its west and the Columbia River to its south, the silty loam predominant in the area at elevations as low as 200 feet/60 meters near the river and as high as 1800 feet /550 meters in the far northern part of the AVA are excellent for growing both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The strong winds often coming from the Columbia Gorge to the west both stress the typically south-facing vineyards and reduce the risk of fungus and rot.
The weather here is more extreme than in many grape-growing regions we've visited. Typical daytime highs in July are in the low 90s F/ nearly 35C while overnight lows in the winter are often down around 25F/ -4C. Rain is rare during the growing season and even during winter, it snows as much as it rains. But, during the summer, the sun shines on the south-facing slo…

Merlot, Mendoza Valley

We're back in Argentina today on the south side of the Mendoza River in the shadows of giant Mt. Aconcagua. This is one of the highest elevation wine regions in the world and that elevation gives the wine a special character. While the area is known today as the home of great Malbec, there is also some spectacular Merlot coming out of the region.
It's warm, but not blistering hot, and quite dry here in Mendoza with faily consistent gentle breezes. While Aconcagua, visible in the distance, is snow-capped, temperatures here will occasionally hit 35C/95F. As a result, these wines will still be more fruit forward, much like those we experienced in Australia, particularly the first few days, and not as earthy as those we will eventually taste in Europe.
Particularly here in Mendoza, the Merlot is highly dependent on the oak. Many of the producers use the less expensive oak from the midwestern United States, but the top winemakers generally use French oak. The warm weather Merlot alre…

Merlot -- Hunter Valley, Australia

It's a combination trip from Barossa Valley in South Australia to Hunter Valley in New South Wales. We drove back to Adelaide, took the two hour flight to Sydney and then drove 2 hours north, first following the Central Coastline and then still heading north, but inland, to the small towns that dot the area known as Hunter Valley.
The climate here is very Mediterranean without the  frequent summer extremes found in Victoria, far to the south. Expect summer highs to be in the range of 24-26C/75-79F and even overnight lows in the middle of winter to stay near 10/50F. It's great weather to grow grapes.
The area used to be home to a number of volcanos and from it we have the naturally volcanic soil, loaded with minerals. Interspersed among the remnants of the volcanic ash we find bits of gravel, perfect for natural air and water flow.
Before opening our Merlot from the Hunter Valley region, we are pleasantly surprised in our discussions to learn that the Merlot from the area is quite…

Merlot -- Barossa Valley

While the heart of Barossa Valley wine region is perhaps a 20 minute drive from the heart of yesterday's Eden Valley, we wanted to explore the possibility of doing our day's travel differently. Needing some exercise, we walked it. It was a few hours, and quite rolling as we crossed the countryside from one Australian Geographical Indication to another.
It's an ideal region for growing grapes that get particularly ripe -- warm, dry during the growing season, many gentle slopes to plant on, and intense sunlight. What this gives us in nearly all the grapes of the region are highly intense flavored wines with typically high alcohol content.
How did people get to Barossa Valley to start growing grapes? It was seemingly by accident. When persecuted Silesians (then part of Prussia and now Poland) sought refuge from eastern Europe, they embarked on a journey to the other side of the world. Many landed in Adelaide and headed northeast to the valley that they found stunning. There, th…

Merlot -- Eden Valley, Australia

Once again, our travels hit a snag as we tried to fly from Beijing to Adelaide in South Australia, but with only two stops, we made it. Thankfully tomorrow's travel will be much faster. 
After arriving at Adelaide International Airport, we hopped in our car and drove a bit to the northeast. Having two route choices, we took the one that started due east and then headed north just skirting Mount Crawford Forest slighly to our west before arriving in Eden Valley. Of note to us are the trees growing in the forest -- mostly pine with a fair number of eucalytpus.
Eden Valley is a small town, but also the center of an Australian Geographical Indication. It is said to have gotten its name when local surveyors looking at the land in this unnamed place saw the word "Eden" carved into a tree. It sits at about 460 meters / 1510 feet. It can be quite warm there although high temperatures in the summer are usually not quite 30C/86F, temperatures have been known to exceed 40C/104F. Wint…

Merlot -- Hebei Province, China

We're making our first trip to the People's Republic of China, specifically the Hebei Province, a northeastern and somewhat coastal province of which Beijing and Tianjin were seemingly carved, or gerrymandered, out. Yes, I know, there is no way that we could actually get into this region today, but at Grape of the Day, we spare no expense or measure to experience the most interesting grapes of the world.
More specifically, we've ventured into Huailai, northwest of Beijing, in a slightly mountainous area, in the shadows of the Great Wall and having natural irrigation from the Guanting Reservoir. Near the border with Mongolia, we're in monsoon country. Summers are quite warm often exceeding 30C/86F while winters give us some fairly deep freezes with temperatures often below -10C/14F. Unlike traditional Merlot growing regions, the rainy season in Huailai is during growing season. So, one must wonder, how do they successfully grow Merlot.
For what it's worth, we're a…

Merlot

Let's start a Merlot tour today, but before we travel anywhere with it (that will start tomorrow), let's learn something about Merlot. For starters, the origins of Merlot are unknown, but we do know that it was originally called Merlau in the late 18th century. Since then, ampelographers have determined that it is in fact a child of Cebernet Franc and an obscure grape whose name I know, but about which I know nothing, called Magdeleine Noire.
Merlot has long been wildly popular in France, being one of the five noble red grapes of Bordeaux. In particular, on the "Right Bank," Merlot is often the dominant grape in the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol. Notably, many connoisseurs would tell you that the wine of Chateau Petrus in Pomerol, but on the border of St Emilion and usually 100% Merlot is one of the finest wines in the world. Its average price of more than $2,000 per bottle would hint at that as well.
As the California wine explosion hit, Merlot became an increasingl…

Moschofilero

We're off to Greece today, but not the part that you think about every day. After our flight to Athens, we drove about an hour, mostly west across the Isthmus of Corinth, and finally southwest for another 45 minutes or so to the small town of Mantineia on the Pelopponesian peninsula. As you may recall from your grade school or high school ancient history classes, much happened here as the city-states of Greece battled, but today we're here to drink white wine.
It's a pretty good grape growing climate here in a region perhaps better known for Kalamata olives. But, if we think of some of our other travels, we might say the same about our trips to Italy although many would say it is better known for its wine with olives being the ugly stepchild there.
We drink the wine today from a largely local grape, Moschofilero. While more pinkish in color than anything else, Moschofilero produces a highly aromatic white wine with lots of spice, much in the style of one of the Traminers. It…

Arneis

We're back in the Piemonte of Italy today after a nearly 5 hour circuitous drive. We went through Bologna, through the vinegar capital of Modena, the home o fine prosciutto in Parma, and then wound our way through the Italian Alps to the little town of Roero in the province of Cuneo. It's hear that the once lost white grape Arneis found its rebirth.
We're at 550 meters/1800 feet where the Stura and Gesso rivers come together. It's also surrounded by six mountain passes ranging in elevation from Colle di Cadibona at 459 meters /1500 feet to Colle della Madalena at 1996 meters/6550 feet.
During World War II, Roera as the capital of Cuneo was a resistance center against German occupation of Italy. Briefly, at least compared to others, the prominent Jewish population of the area was interred in concentration camps, but they were also among the first to be rescued.
The town is also the home of Arneis, a long-lost white grape, perhaps because nobody could find a home for it. Bu…

Sangiovese -- focus on Chianti

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We're still drinking Sangiovese today, but we've driven about 90 minutes north from Montalcino to Chianti, still part of Siena in fairly central Italy. On the way, we passed by the town of Siena and noticed temperatures dropping just a bit. At the same time, we moved a bit farther from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The name Chianti goes back more than seven centuries. A notary and winemaker named Ser Lapo Mazzei used the term in what we would today call a bill of sale for six barrels of wine from Chianti. Later, a Filippo Mazzei served as an arms merchant for Thomas Jefferson. Later, when the words "all men are created equal" were added to the Declaration of Independence, it is said that Jefferson may have taken that from the writings of Mazzei. In fact, in his book, A Nation of Immigrants, John F. Kennedy paid that tribute to Mazzei.

In the picture above, you can see that the Mazzei family remains in the business of producing Chianti and pays homage to Ser Lapo and in another b…

Sangiovese with a focus on Brunello di Montalcino

We're in the center of Italy today, about 2 1/2 hours mostly north of Rome and nearly 2 hours mostly to the south of Florence. We're on a hill that at various times in history has shared its name with the town in which it sits. Once famous more for its tanneries in the ultra-important Italian leather industry, today Montalcino is known for its red wines. Best known among them is the iconic Brunello di Montalcino which by law is made from 100% Sangiovese. And, lucky us, that's what we are drinking today.
Some would tell us that there is technically a grape called Brunello, but we are going to side with the other faction that says that it is merely a clone of Sangiovese known as Sangiovese Grosso. In either case, we encounter yet another dispute. What exactly are the origins? 
In some dialects of Italian at various times in history, one could translate Brunello to mean select red wine. In fact, in the 14th century, in areas around Montalcino and as far south as Rome, the wines…

Petit Bouschet

Have you ever tried to get from an Andes mountain gap to Antananarivo, Madagascar.? It's not easy, but we wanted to drink wine from Madagascar. After using every internet search tool available, the fastest trip we found was going to take about 42 hours, so with our unlimited grape of the day budget, we chartered an Airbus 350 to make the flight. We changed planes in Johannesburg, South Africa because there aren't exactly any large landing strips on Madagascar. After landing, we drove 8 hours south into the highlands of this island off the eastern coast of Africa to the regional capital of Fianarantsoa.
The weather here is quite tropical. Summers are hot with nighttime lows often above 20C/68F and daytime highs frequently above 35C/95F. It rains frequently during the summer, but winters are generally somewhat dry.
Madgascar is home to the red-bellied lemurs of the world. They're adorably playful animals to watch as they go about their daily business. The island is also endemi…

Malbec

Today, we are on the south side of the Mendoza River in Argentina to drink Malbec. We know it's going to be worth it and that's a good thing because getting to this area is not easy. In a nutshell, our choices were flying into Santiago, Chile and traversing the mountain passes through some of the highest parts of the Andes (not far from the prodigious, nearly 23,000 foot peak of Aconcagua) or flying into Buenos Aires and heading across Argentina for a full day. We chose the former, got a driver so that we could see the scenery and headed east. 
Santiago, the capital of Chile, while not quite seaside, lies to the west of the Andes about 65 miles to the east of the Pacific. We headed north and then slightly east to Puente del Inca where we exited the car and looked to our north where we could see the snow-laden peak of Aconcagua, the highest point in the southern hemisphere as well as the western hemisphere. Returning to our car, we rode through the mountain passes and settled ev…

Aglianico

You would have thought it would be a short trip. All we wanted to do was get from Marco Polo Airport in Venice, Italy to Centro Storico in Bari, part of Puglia in the heel of the country. It turns out that flights areen't readily available and we didn't have 20 hours to spare, so we drove, almost entirely along the Adriatic shoreline for 8 hours or so and then inland to Basilicata that sits in what you might consider the arch of the boot. It's okay; it was a beautiful ride with the top down and the warm breezes making it feel like summer.
We're in Basilicata to drink wines made from Aglianico. What's that? It's a prodigiously tannic red grape. Do you like to chew your wine? Do you like those big, bold Cabernets and Barolos? The tannins in Aglianico are even bigger, denser, thicker.
The weather in Basilicata during growing season is consistent in the summer -- very warm and very dry. This causes lower yields, but bigger wines.
I don't know what it says about th…

Corvina

After a charming trip to Venice, we headed just a bit west, but still in the northeastern part of Italy to sample wines made from Corvina. We find the weather to be quite temperate, amanating largely from the Adriatic Sea to its east, the breezes blow frequently, and the soil is chalky clay. It's this last element that seems important. Corvina has not been found to produce usable grapes growing in anything but chalky clay.
It's a curious grape. It buds early, but loses those buds and then re-buds. Ultimately, it ripens late, is not particularly tannic, and has very thick skins that are extremely amenable to drying. 
Primarily, Corvina is used as the predominant grape in the wines of Veneto (Venice is the capital) and in particular in the smaller region of Valpolicella within Veneto. Typically, Corvinone and or Rondinella are blended with Corvina to give more balance and structure to an otherwise finicky grape.
From these blends, we typically get three types of wines -- those labe…