215px-Christopher_Columbus3.jpgFor those lucky enough to be enjoying this three-day weekend, let’s take a moment to raise our glass to Christopher Columbus, who arrived in the Americas, this time back in 1492. For many, the second Monday in October just means another day to work off our hangover and spend the majority of the afternoon in p.j.’s watching the Food Network (or is that just me?). But for Italian-Americans, Columbus Day marks an opportunity to celebrate their heritage with fun things like parades, food, more food and some good vino. That’s reason enough for us to get off the couch (as soon as this episode of “Incredible Edible Mansions” is over).

In the spirit of holiday, we have chose to honor Italian wines that we are glad, have come to America.

Barberani Grechetto, 2003, Umbria, Italy, around $20.00
Grape: Grechetto, which is mostly used in a blend for Orvieto or Vin Santo
The light aromas of honey on the nose careful disguise what awaits on the palate. This wine has quite a presence in the mouth. Its rich texture covers every little taste bud with hints of minerality, a subtle nutty flavor, and floral notes. This wine plays a perfect supporting role to a dish that packs a lot of flavor, refreshing the mouth and preparing it for the next bite.

Icardi L’Aurora Cortese 2004, Piemonte, Italy, around $14
Grape: Cortese, grown in Northern Italy, and is most famous for it’s role in “Gavi” white wines.
It’s a shame that red wines of Piemont (Barolo, Barbera, etc.) get all the attention, because this white is worth talking about. On the nose are aromas of white peach, floral and minerality and these flavors follow through on the palate with racy acidity and a vibrant freshness.

La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti Ca di Pian 2002, Italy, around $20
Grape: Barbera, one of Italy’s most planted dark-skinned grape after Sangiovese. Known for it’s high acidity.
We brought this wine to a dinner party the other day, because it’s such a great accompaniment to food. Its high acidity stands up to many dishes and its notes of black berries, spice and earth provide a great backdrop to a hearty fall meal.

(To the best of our knowledge, no Native Americans were harmed in the making of these delicious wines.)

Sometimes it takes a three-day weekend of celebrating food, wine and culture to remind us of the important things in life, and yes, we’re not just talking about edible mansions.

Painting: First Landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World, painting by Discoro Téofilo de la Puebla