Italian wine meets Swedish crime thriller in Belize

Aug 17th, 2010 Jayne Pearce ,

I recently offered to help wash down some intellectual banter about ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson at my local book club. The wines in question were an Italian line-up from my local wine supplier Wine de Vine here in San Pedro, Belize.

Those used to competitively-priced wines with realistic duties will be shocked to see the price tag on these heavily dutied numbers. Consequently, this has made good quality wine drinking in Belize a sport for special occasions.

We started off the evening with some easy drinking Mont Albano Prosecco (IGT - US$29 equiv.). Prosecco uses the Glera grape and is from the Veneto region in Italy. Its fresh, extra dry style and delicate bubbles make it a great aperitif.

At 11% alcohol it sits nicely without the need for any nibbles.

Next up came a typical crisp, white Orvieto. The 2008 Campogrande Orvieto Classico (DOC - US$24 equiv.) is from the Umbria region of Italy where the Trebbiano and Grechetto grapes are a big hit. Pale lemon hues and classic citrus and apple lingered briefly on the nose and the palate. We served some fabulous ceviche with the wines (shrimps with lime; diced onion, cucumber, carrot, tomato, cilantro, salt and pepper). The fresh acidity of ceviche worked really well with the moderately acidic Orvieto.

We all thought the Valpolicella was a bit of a disappointment. The 2006 Valpolicella Campagnola Classico Superiore (DOC - US$22 equiv.) seemed a bit imbalanced with excess acidity and lacking in the usual Corvina raspberry cherry flavours but this could be due to its age.

Fortunately the Chianti came to the rescue and helped us put that dragon tattoo to bed. The **2007 Chianti I Grotti (DOCG - US$25 equiv.)** was showing a deep ruby glow with a rich, spicy nose and a long lasting savoury finish. I think the Sangiovese grape used largely for Chianti is the queen and the Nebbiolo (see Barolo) is the king of Italian wine nobility. Some great cream cheeses and cold meats were gratefully washed down by this very pleasing Chianti.

I totally recommend a book / wine combo eve with some good friends. Hopefully this will be the first of many with some tasty dips and nibbles on the side. Watch out for my forthcoming Spanish tasting notes to complement an evening with the book ‘Jaguar’ by Alan Rabinowitz.

Read the previous post: The extraordinary Vin Jaune

Read the next post: A Spanish Selection for 'Jaguar'