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  You must have seen the large two litre bottles of wine that are served by the glass in most Italian restaurants. These almost certainly originate from the Piave region.

Tocai del Piave is used for the white wines and Merlot del Piave for the reds.

Generally these wines are very drinkable but certainly not representative of the entire area. The region of Piave, which runs along both banks of the Piave river, also makes good wine. There are excellent Cabernet and Cabernet Sauvignons with just sufficient vegetal undertones and tannin to compete with a good French wine (though much cheaper). Merlot and Pinot Nero here are just a little smoother than elsewhere, even sometimes bordering on the sweet.

The best wines are cask aged and are entitled to be called Riserva. Try a typical Italian wine, the Aboso del Piave. This is ruby to granite red with a seductive nose of wild violets and other pleasant woodland aromas. The taste is dry, robust, masculine, freshly acidic, sometimes high in tannin, but always true to character and juicy. Drink at 53.6-57.2°F (12- 14°C) to 60.8°F (16°C) for the Riserva.

The choice with white wines is simpler. The golden yellow but unobtrusive Tocai Italiano is known to most. It goes well with a pizza. Provide it is sufficiently chilled and drunk in moderation it can do little harm. Almost the same is true of the Pinot Bianco and the hardonnay, although the latter is certainly no advertisement for such a world famous grape. Of much greater interest are the sultry and aromatic Pinots Grigio del Piave or elegant, characteristic and exceptionally pleasant Erduzzo del Piave. Drink at 46.4-50°F (8-10°C), but for the Verduzzo and Pinot Grigio.

Efosco dal Pedonculo Rosso is a pleasing and authentic wine. The unusual grape is known as Mondeuse in the French Savoie. Here it produces a wine that is intensely red, slightly tannic with a bitter finish but one that is rounded and filled with flavour. Drinking temperature is 53.6- 57.2°F (12- 14°C).

Other wines from Veneto include Colli Berici DOC, Colli Euganei DOC, Montello/ Colli Asolani DOC, Breganze DOC, Bagnoli di Sopra/Bagnoli DOC, Lison-Pramaggiore DOC, and Lessini Durello DOC.

 

GARDA DOC

Wine from Veneto bears the denomination of Garda Orientale DOC, that from Lombardy just carries Garda DOC. The wine must be made from not less than 85% ofthe grapes indicated on the label. These are the well-known Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling Italico, Riesling Renano, and Sauvignon Blanc. These are all excellent wines. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C) for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco, and Rieslings and 50- 53.6°F (10-12°C) for Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio wines. Much more interesting to discover though are the Garganega, Trebbianello, and Cortese white wines.

All three can be either dry or medium dry and they are fairly aromatic and filled with flavour. Drink at 50- 53.6°F (10-12°C). With the red wines there are the essential Cabernets, Merlots, and Pinots Nero wines, which are just as good and as bad as elsewhere in the world. You may also encounter the authentic Marzemino and Corvina wines.

 These are both fresh, delightful, and fragrant. Drink at 53.6- 57.2°F (12- 14°C). Pinally there are also white Prizzante wines that are dry or medium dry and always fruity. Drinking temperature is 42.8-46.4°F (6-8°C).

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