I've enjoyed Spanish and Portuguese wines and though I haven't been the biggest fan of Italian wines, I'll always give them a chance. Unfortunately tonight I did not love the Italian wines we tried (too much dust). That said, I still learned a bit and I'm guessing if we had tried a Nebbiolo, I would have enjoyed it.
So what did I learn outside of the tasting?
1) The cool climate in Northern Italy makes for higher acidity in the wine which is why it pairs so well with food - particularly those with tomato sauces, which are highly acidic.
2) Primitivo is likely the same as Zinfandel, though they have testd the DNA and they may be slightly different. Why they need to DNA test grapes, I do not know.
3) When Pinot Grigio is planted elsewhere and called Pinot Gris, it's usually aged longer on the vine and has more body.
4) On Rioja, the words Jovan, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva refer to how long the wine has been aged in oak. Jovan translates into young wine and means the wine has not been aged in oak at all. Then it goes up from there.
On Saturday I'll be doing an organic and biodynamic wine tasting with friends.