[Image is of an elderflower, from the Transition Leytonstone Website.]

Once upon a time (true story) I suddenly awoke from an Italian delightful dream.

The dream involved four people sitting in a circle. I was sitting on the southern end of this foursome. To my left, on the west side of this circle of people, sat a child. In front of me, to the north, sat an interpreter. And to my right sat an old man.

The dream was in both the Italian and English languages.

I was simply an observer.

The child was speaking English to the old man, who was then speaking Italian back to the child, through the use of the interpreter. The child was asking the old man about his (the child’s) past generations; and the old man was answering him.

As the old man spoke in Italian, through the interpreter to the child, I understood everything the old man was saying. When the child asked his questions in English, and the interpreter began to formulate it into Italian, I knew how to say it in Italian, before it even came out of the interpreter’s mouth.

All of a sudden, I realized that I was dreaming, but that didn’t startle me into waking. Understanding perfectly the Italian that was being spoken and thought about in a translated way, before it was even uttered, is what awakened me.

Je parle français un peu. La famil de ma mère est française. J’ai étudié le français pendant deux ans à l’école secondaire, et mes grnadparents parlé français à moi jusqu’à l’âge de cinq ans.

Hablo español un pocito . Lo estudié durante un año en la escuela secundaria, llevaron dos semestres en la universidad, y la familia de mi marido es español.

So there you are… a background with both French and Spanish in small amounts of exposure, but no Italian studies.

It’s also interesting to me that Hector Bedolla, a viticulturist that I’ve worked with in the past at Belvedere Winery, said to me one day, “Jo, you speak Spanish with an Italian accent.”

So, when I awoke, I sat right up in bed. I had to share with Jose. “Jose!” “Huh,” he said. “I just had a dream. It was in Italian and I understood every word. What do you think that means?” Jose to me, “It just means that in a past life you were Italian.”

Ah… past lives cannot be escaped, nor would I want to escape them. I have images that I can’t explain in my head. They’re about being in Venice and shouting to someone on the other side of a waterway. Our laundry was on a communal rope, and we took turns using it. It bonded us.

[Thank you to the Richmond Wine Culture Website for this image.]

So, a shipment of Italian wines arrive… What a celebration, but I didn’t use them in a way that called in all the troops and I created big bowls of pasta for everyone to enjoy… Nope, I’d open one bottle at a time, taste it, make notes, and live a few days with the bottle in my refrigerator and slipping some into my glass, to enjoy with whatever il cibo del giorno stava per essere. Each day was an adventure, and that went on for a couple of weeks. Now, I’m going to share the joy.

Italian delights

Founded in 1887 by Francesco Mionetto, in the small village of Valdobbiadene, Mionetto has been the preeminent name known for quality for over 125 years. In the heart of the Prosecco region, Mionetto produces the exceptional wines that comprise America’s favorite Prosecco brand. Okay, I was game for the first three…

MionettO “IL” Prosecco NV [$10.00]

was the first wine that I tasted and enjoyed. It has a very gentle effervescenza. Cool weather flavors of citrus fruit and pears were delicious to taste, and this wine became a very easy sipper for a few days. While researching what I was enjoying, I discovered that this wine comes from the Valdobbiadene region, which is the region where Venice is located, in the Northeastern part of the boot… I had that aha moment, and was transported. This was The Translator in my story above… The wines were speaking to me in Italian and I understood them.

It also reminded me of the following, while  an RN sister of mine and I just discussed this phenomenon, too:

Do any of you also get that mid afternoon craving for a glass of wine, long before dinner comes? Well, I have some thoughts about that, because I get hit almost every day about 3:00 p.m. I once read that after we’ve been up for eight hours, our body temperatures drop about one degree. This makes us sluggish, and might begin to explain an afternoon siesta. I believe that Europeans are more in tune with their body signals and read them better than our American culture. Let’s just say that they didn’t invent fast food, fast cars, or fast women. Slowing down in mid afternoon lets them continue into the day having later dinners and enjoying the company of companions, versus our violent programming after a long day of working.

This wine brought me back to Venice… A bit lively, a bit homely (in the British sense), and it was an experience to be slowly enjoyed… It was a cultural experience… It had it’s own terroir.

Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso [$14.95]

This one is made with organically grown grapes.  When you say “organic,” I say, “Oh, yeah,” every time. I want it as pure as I can get it. It’s authentic, pure, and unadulterated by human agricultural biotechnology. I’m simple, and I like it simple… I worked hard to preserve my body in as much as a natural state as I can in life… Eating specifically grown organic foods since the 1960s, Practicing yoga since the early 70s, and cooking slow foods all of my life…avoiding the fast food lane. Loved it… I loved that this grape named Glera was one I had never tasted before. (One for the Wine Century Club. I’m at 147 different varieties, so have a double Wine Century membership.)

Flavors were very different. It made me have to think a bit, like the translator; take it in, think about it, then tell it like it is… with subtleties and nuances. It’s described as having an elderflower [image of elderflower above] bouquet, which I’ve never experienced before; never having even seen – never mind having even smelled – an elderflower; but, I did get the green apple flavors on the palate. Now, I’ve tasted what an elderflower smells like. (I’ve got to now find them and match it all up.) Very enjoyable and very affordable.

Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut Presitge Collection from 1887 [Ranging in price from ‎$10.00 to $15.00]

Another sparkling wine made from the Glera grape. A hillside vineyard, the grapes for this wine were grown on a hillside, comprised of alluvial soil with a clay presence. (Alluvial soil is filled with sediments from mountain runoff waters, and are more of a young soil, because of runoff water. Alluvial contains a lots of minerals. These qualities together become a perfect growing condition for grape vines.  This wine is made from gentle pressing of the grapes, and the child in my story gently pressed on to learn of his lineage… It was very well balanced and super delicious. I wanted to make this one last longer…but, alas, some things are just too good to drag out.

I believe what I appreciated most about these wines is their balance and low alcohol levels (11 percent each). For me, they were in beautiful balance and very food friendly. As much as I like to sip them at a certain point in the afternoon, I much prefer to enjoy them with perfect food pairings, later in the day.

My final, fourth wine comes from Cantina di Soave. I’ve had these wines before, and it’s always a treat when they arrive on my door step or I buy them.

2012 ReMidas Soave 2012 Denominazione di Origine CFontrollata [Ranging in price from $3.99 to $9.99]

Soave is always so suave, in my book… Maybe my Jose was one of those Suave Italian loves in a past life.

This was I in the story, arriving to a party of a perfect trio of compatriots, and interpreting them in the dream….. In the company of friends, so to speak; separate company, but equally involved.

The ReMidas Soave comes from the Soave DOC, with the vineyards being located on hillsides with the village of Soave. You can see in the map above, this region sits just outside of the Prosecco region, but is still within the overall region… much like my original story.

I adore the Garganega grape. I discovered that a long time ago.  Being stainless steel fermented, this is a crisp, citrus and floral wine, that always seems to please me, with or without foods. Summer sipper, lovely with a cheese plate, because it will cut through the richness of the creamy cheeses, and a classic with poultry dishes.  this is another low alcohol wine, but 12 percent… If you’re part of the low alcohol wine society, like I am, go for the imports… They will please not only your palate, but also your pocketbook.





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