The production of wine goes back thousands of years, and many believe it actually originated in the Middle East. Evidence of the earliest European wine production has been uncovered at archaeological sites in Macedonia, dated to 6,500 years ago, which is an incredibly exciting fact for a member of the Macedonian ethnicity who just loves her wine. However, wine production improved considerably during the Roman Empire, and today, much of the world associates classically great wine with Italy.
I experienced some truly wonderful Italian wines while living in Orvieto. I had only consumed light white wines before Italy, but my roommate over there came from a family of red wine drinkers, and she got me hooked on the full-bodied Chiantis of Tuscany. I will now drink a dry red wine at room temperature over anything else I am offered. Thanks a lot, Amy. You’ve ruined me.
My time in Italy inspired me with the desire to try wines from other parts of the world, including Argentina, Chile, Hungary, and Australia. If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner once in a while, or a glass while you are cooking, I encourage you to try something imported, something new, and not just the cheap table wine that tastes like weird juice. My favorite sparkling wine, far more than champagne, is Italian Prosecco, or the delightfully crisp Moscato D’Asti. You get the bubbles and the feeling of something expensive and special, but without the bitter aftertaste champagne often leaves.
My parents and I have sort of adopted a “house red”. We love the wines from the Kalbarri vineyard in Australia:
We don’t drink too much white wine anymore, but when we do, it’s usually the Orvieto Classico I introduced to my family upon my return to the states. I haven’t found a vineyard that has reproduced the divine Classico that the Bigi vineyard does, but they don’t export their wine, so I’ve had to settle for another:
Chianti, however, will always have a special place in my heart because it reminds me of all of the meals I ate, the friends I made, the personal growing I did, and the memories I made throughout Italy. Wine is a huge part of life over there, not a beverage on which one becomes drunk, but one that is enjoyed in company and to celebrate every wonderful thing about life. When I purchase a Chianti, (which I do only every once in a while because I’m a snob about it actually coming from the vineyards in Tuscany) I splurge a little, because some things in life, as in relationships, are about quality, not quantity.
Here is where I will sound like a huge wine snob: do not buy boxed wine. It’s never as good as bottled, and it tells anyone who looks in your refrigerator that either you are incredibly cheap or you drink so much that you need a giant straw to go into your liquored up juice box. In conclusion, enjoying wine and being a wine snob does not make you an alcoholic or a bad person. It’s always about moderation, friends, just like with junk food, children, and romantic comedies.