That trip to Germany was eye opening for me because for the first time I realized that maybe Giampietro was right, maybe the quality of wine in Italy was better than that in Germany altogether. When I was living in Germany the first time we had a guy in my unit who was from Hungary. He used to drive home most weekend to visit his family and would occasionally bring back some red wine that his grandfather had made. He had once explained to me that certain countries in Europe produce good red wine and some don't and that Germany doesn't produce good red wine because the soil and climate are just not the right type. So I had never thought of Germany as a red wine country anyway. But I did think of it as a white wine country, at least until I lived in Italy for a while and started drinking the white wine there.
My introduction to Italian wine started mostly with sweet whites and reds. I believe Moscato was the first Italian wine I tried. Moscato is a sweet, bubbly white wine that goes well with sweets so it's easy to drink. One day my friend John Pitt decided to take me to a big winery called Villa Sceriman. It's in a little town called Vo Vecchio (Vo, for short) in the Colli Euganei (Euganei hills) just outside Padova. Vo is very popular with Americans who are stationed in Vicenza and I would speculate that many of them who become wine drinkers got their start in Vo. I first became addicted to a wine called Marzemino. Marzemino is a sweet, frizzante (fizzy) red wine and the one produced by Villa Sceriman is so fruity and tasty that it goes down almost too easily, like juice. Usually I would buy a few bottles of Moscato and a few of Marzemino and that was that. As I started getting engrossed more and more in the Italian culture I realized how big a part of it wine was. When Giampietro and Agnese would invite me over for dinner they always served either Cabernet or, Giampi's personal favorite, Tocai rosso. Eventually, when we would go to Vo, I started asking to try the drier wines such as their Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I liked the Cabernet right away, not so much the Merlot. For a long time I would drink a lot of Cabernet's and not much else.
Enter Will Nason.
(stay tuned for part III)