“I migliori vini del mondo vengono dalla California.”
Translation: “The best wines in the world come from California.”
Before you send hate mail about this statement, know this: I wasn’t the one who said it.
When I was a junior in college I studied abroad in Siena, a medieval city located in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region. My Italian culture professor, Grissiano, was a staunchly proud Sienese man. Proud of the Sienese dialect, proud of the Tuscan cuisine, proud of the Sienese contrada (district or quarter) he was from and still lived in, proud of everything Tuscan. So, you can imagine my surprise when he unloaded the above statement on me and my fellow classmates one afternoon. Even though I wasn’t yet the oenophile I am today, I was still taken aback, mostly because here was my very proud teacher giving credit about wine – of all topics! – to America! There we were, in Italy, in Tuscany, home of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Super Tuscans, Chianti, Sangiovese, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vin Santo…so many incredible wines in his own back yard to be proud of, and the glory goes to California.
If this guy said something like that, he had to be onto something, right? Well, I can tell you, I came back to California with a new view on wine. Whereas I once considered the ancient wine producers like France, Spain and Italy the masters of the task, simply because they were European with a heck of a lot of experience, I started giving California wines a second glance. I’m glad I did because I discovered the Golden State really does turn out some killer wines, from dry roses to old vine Zinfandels.
Of course, wine is extremely subjective; who can honestly say where the best wines in the world come from because someone will always be there to disagree.
As for me, I truly love Ponte wines. For one, there’s variety for every taste and every mood. The Italian-rooted winery doesn’t stop at creating traditional Italian wines like Sangiovese and Moscato. They excel at French varietals (Viognier, Chardonnay), Argentinian varietals (Malbec, Torrontes), California varietals (Zinfandel, Fume Blanc), even their own signature wines (Beverino, Isabel). But, if I had to answer the question, “Where do the best wines in the world come from?” I might have to say Tuscany. I’ve had some amazing red blends from California and some incredible roses from France, but the single best wine I ever had came from Montalcino, a city in Tuscany, while I was there in college. It was a 1997 Brunello di Montalcino from a vintner called Altesino, and because of it, my heart lies in Tuscany.
What about you? In your opinion, where do the best wines in the world come from?