Living the Dolce Vita in Venice

By Richard Ehrlich, June 6, 2013
Pieropan La Rocca

Pieropan La Rocca

Please don’t hate me: I recently spent six days in Venice. In my defence, I would note that it was for the annual wedding anniversary trip that my wife and I take, and that she hadn’t been there since she was 15.

So she was owed a trip. I, the undeserving, simply tagged along.

I would like to dispel a common myth. Despite Venice’s reputation for fearsome expense, most of our meals out were not exorbitant. We rarely spent more than €100 (£85)for two, and could have spent less by sticking exclusively to house wines.

At modest restaurants such as La Madonna (near the Rialto bridge), Al 40 Ladroni (near the Ghetto) and Osteria a la Campana (five minutes from San Marco), eminently drinkable house wine cost €4-€5 for 250ml.

Memories of vinous Venice persist. Warm weather is now (mostly) with us, so that means glasses of
Prosecco, one of the wines of the moment for its fresh, uncomplicated citrus flavours. Distinguished examples sell for £11-£13 or so, but few are better value than Tesco Simply Prosecco (£6.99), so cheap that you won’t mind dumping berries or crushed white peach flesh into a glass.

Prosecco tends to operate in a quality range from acceptable to very good. The range for Soave, the Veneto’s most famous white wine, is more like wretched to wonderful. Drink industrial Soave and you wonder why the wine was invented.

Drink Pieropan La Rocca 2011 and you wonder why anyone would drink anything else. All the hallmark stone-fruit flavours are here, and with much more besides. Not cheap: around £25 from Majestic and numerous independents. But this is one of the four or five best examples of Soave.

Dr L Riesling

Dr L Riesling

And finally: nothing to do with Venice, but a perfect warm-weather wine. Ernst Loosen is one of the best known producers in the Mosel valley, and Dr L Riesling is his consistently excellent entry-level wine. Melony lushness and a touch of sweetness that makes it a great wine for spicy foods.

At Booths, Majestic and Tesco, but cheapest from Asda for just £5.78. Way too cheap. Drink it in the Piazza San Marco. Oops! I meant to say: your garden.

Last updated: 4:45pm, June 6 2013