Italian Masters Pt.I – Guido Teaches Me How to Cin Cin!

pighin pinot grigio
Guido is a man’s name, but if I ever run into someone who is really named Guido, I think I woud fall over laughing. Most of the time I hear “Guido” in conversation, it is being used like this: “Oh my gawd, he is such a Guido!” and the term is referring to the tanning-bed-addicted greasy guy with the Italian version of activator gel slicked down hair, silk shirt unbuttoned to here *bellybutton* revealing a thick, glittering gold chain nestled in a dark, curly chest rug, wearing white linen pants and crocodile loafers with no socks, and reeking of…Égoïste (that’s Chanel for “very strong cologne”)

I have to admit. I love those guys.

By some fantastic twist of fate last month, I was lucky enough to go to an event at the ooh la la! Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica that was featuring Italian wines and food from LA area chefs. Normally, I would never get invited to these types of things, but maybe I got lucky because June was my brithday month? :) Alright, alright! So I wasn’t invited to the event. I had been asked to go “cover” it. LOL! Whatever, I didn’t argue – any chance to taste good wine, taste great food, and of course, stare at well-known chefs like a complete idiot! Yes yes, I pretty much regard chefs like a 14-year-old girl doting on Justin Timberlake.

The place was teeming with Guidos. Chefs and Guidos. The Fairmont Hotel just became Heaven.

pighin pinot grigio
that’s a pinot grigio

I wasn’t familiar with any of the wines except for one, Pighin, which was one that had been recommended to me by a server a few weeks ago at Osteria Latini. At dinner, I ended up choosing something else, a Villa Russiz Pinot Grigio, which I enjoyed very much, but had I chosen the Pighin, I would have been equally happy. Very light, very fruity, very much suited to my tastes. Hm, but can I remember which year? Which pinot grigio from Pighin was the best? No. They all pretty much tasted like damn good pinot grigio from this millenium. LOL!

pighin pinot grigio
why, could that be another pinot grigio?
pighin pinot grigio collio
well, duh. collio. duh.

Wine from Con Vento was the first one I tried, and I didn’t love it. I don’t think I even liked it. Why? Watch out now – you’re about to be blown away by my wine appreciation.

con vento
sour sommelier. sour wine.

I didn’t like it because the woman who poured it for me was a Class A you-know-what. I don’t like being mean about people, since who knows? She could have been bitter that her Guido husband was working the patricians in the room in his dark grey pinstripe Armani suit whilst she was stuck behind a table pouring for the plebeians like me. But still, her sour face and attitude really made the wine taste sour, too.

The rest of the wines at the event were good, but I didn’t take detailed enough notes about what I was tasting, and after a while, I have to admit, they all started to taste the same. I only tried whites from each brand, and more specifically, pinot grigios all around, just to teach myself a little and see how pinot grigios can taste similar or different from maker to maker. I might have learnt meself a thing or two. Like don’t wear a Missoni dress unless you sashay down the runways of Milan from time to time. Can you believe she was wearing that?! Yeah, neither could I.

bollini pinot grigio friuli
i only know friuli because of mario batali!
bollini pinot grigio trentino
but didn’t get to trentino

Pinot grigio is Italian for the same pinot gris in French; “gris” refers to the grayish blue color of the pinot grape that makes the wine. I’ve always known that I like pinot grigio, but I never really pinpointed the wine chracteristics that appealed to me. Pinot grigios are known to be light, crisp, and dry. I got the light, and now that I know “crisp” is another way to describe acidic, I get crispy, but dry? Didn’t think I’d ever like something that wasn’t sweet ;)

I am pretty certain now that if you put down a pinot grigio in front of me, I’d be able to tell that it was a white wine. LOL! But really, by comparison, I can distinguish a pinot grigio from a chardonnay from Arbor Mist, but I have yet to be able to distinguish between the subtleties from one pinot grigio to the next. Can’t know everything, now can I?

michele chiarlo
michele chiarlo had the most guidos
chiarlo nivole
and the sweetest moscato d’asti

The one wine that stood out to me from the whole barrel, though, wasn’t even a pinot grigio. It was an uber sweet dessrt-like wine that had a big peach or maybe it was a setting sun, on the label. Michele Chiarlo Nivole. Favoloso! It’s 100% moscato bianco, and just like its name nivole, which translates to clouds, it was sweet, soft, and light. Fruity too, and like I’ve learned, crisp. So I learned a bit about pinot grigio, but in the end, the Guidos sold me on the $10 moscato. Salute!

Actual Date of Event: Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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