Agronomo – in English it is an agronomist – one who studies agriculture. Dr. Giuseppe Izza has indeed developed a career based on the wonderful edibles that grow in Sardegna. I met him – not talking about slow food or tasting the fresh vegetables brought to Alghero by local farmers – but DRINKING WINE! The event was organized by my favorite Italian Language School – Centro Meditteraneo Pintadera.
Dr. Izza conducts an incredible workshop on the wines of Sardegna, wine tasting, wine history, wine glasses, what to eat with wine – well just about everything one needs to know to appreciate a good glass of a beverage that starts in the vineyards of Sardegna. Some of those vines have lineages that go back to the Romans in 238 BC. For example the white Nuragus goes back 3000 years!!! Other grapes began their journeys a wee bit later and came with the different peoples who controlled Sardegna during its history. For example – the Vermentino – white – from France or the Torbato from Spain. These grapes have lineages much more noble than mine.
We were all chomping at the bit to start tasting the wines that Dr. Izza had brought with him. But NOOOOOOOOO! First we had to learn how to really taste – not just gulp down that red for a quick thirst quenching buzz. Babies, he said, have the best sense of taste. They don’t think about it – now he was not talking about the 3 year old who wouldn’t eat anything green. His point was that adults are choosy. Babies eat with their eyes, hands, noses and mouths. They explore their food – look at it, smell it, taste it. He encouraged us to – at the first tasting of something – to exam its look, really smell it, then slowly taste it.
Look at Jack – he’s all excited. Dr. Izzo is opening a bottle for us to taste. What? We have to wait? Chill Jack – first one has to pour. We were told to only fill a wine glass to where the glass starts to get bigger – open wider – that allows the smell to evaporate up. Hmmm. Next, really visually examine the wine. What is the color? If you tilt the glass does that create “unghia” – nails in Italian but we would say legs. What are the color undertones? Then, rotate the glass and evaluate the fluidity and arches. We all put our glasses next to our handouts so that we could really see the color – it was hard – some of us were staring at the sunset on the Alghero harbor.
We went through the process with a number of both red and white wines. It was interesting how our individual tastes and experiences created diverse perceptions of each wine. I might think something had undertones of oak and cherry and Jack would laugh and say – not at all.
Dr. Izza is an enjoyable presenter. He is a great communicator and had us thinking, laughing and of course drinking. The hours whizzed by and we all left the table with a better understanding of not only the heritage of the local wines but also how we can all be more discernible tasters. I would recommend any of Dr. Giuseppe Izza’s classes. You can follow his food adventures on his FaceBook Page or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out where he is doing a lecture and go! The easiest way is to work with him is to join me in Alghero, Sardegna this October on the Nonna’s Mulberry Tree Trip!