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When a Cheap Wine is Forever Memorable...Sundowners on the Grand Canal

Updated: May 29, 2020

After a long day of getting lost in Venice, it was time to stroll across the Rialto Bridge, hand in hand and enjoy the sun set on the glistening lagoon...

Earlier that morning, the sun was blazing as we were flying away from the madness towards Burano. As the tiny island came into view and the multicoloured fisherman's houses (enabling fishermen to find their way home on the darkest days) emerged we were enticed to dive further into the technicolored wonderland. After strolling the streets and having a leisurely lunch, a large bowl of Burano style seafood pasta (made from lagoon caught produce) we were ready to embark on the Vaporetto ride back towards the floating city.

The sensation of a holiday evening is indescribable but well known and adored. The tired reflection of the day gone and excitement of the evening ahead matched with the feeling of the evening glow on your face and the smell of coconut moisturiser from your pampering ritual before dinner creates a overall clam haze. As the last of the sun grazes your face, you can appreciate the day just past.

Walking through the crowds at the Rialto Bridge, we were keen to find a secluded spot to enjoy some wine and appreciate the falling evening away from the tourists and crowds. Wandering off the beaten track, we found a bar further down the canal, with views to the left of the famous bridge and to the right down the canal and into the sunset. With only two outdoor tables, we squeezed into a padded bench covered by vines and watched the sunset along with the passing crowds, floating gondolas and the soft sound of lapping water more than content with ourselves.

This is a perfect example of a setting influencing the review you would give a bottle. As we sat taking in the venetian sunset, we sipped a 'Giovanni Bellia, Manzoni Bianco.' This white from Italys Veneto region hit the spot, paired with extra salty crisps, a sublime balance was created between the acidity of the wine and salt from the snack. The Veneto region is the largest wine producing area in Italy and home to some of the best known varieties. Extending from southern Lake Garda to western Venice the terrain ranges from the bumpy foothills of the Alps to the flat plains surrounding the Po. The proximity to the Alps allows for cool climatic influences to breeze through the vineyards surrounding Lake Garda. In comparison, the area surrounding the Po experiences moist air, increasing the risk of grape rot. The flat plains offer the perfect fertile soil to create inexpensive and mass produced wine. Varieties include Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Chardonnay along with indigenous varieties such as Terbbiano and Corvina. Wines from this area are usually simplistic, light and fruity.

The light gold coloured wine we drank on the banks of the Grand Canal was exactly that. With a 3.2 rating on Vivino (my favourite wine app) it is evident that it was nothing extraordinary. With light notes of lemon, lime and other soft citrus this wine was very mild on the palate. Scoring 2/5 on the light to bold scale, 2/5 on the dry to sweet scale and 3.5/5 on the soft to acidic scale. Described by some as a 'forgettable wine' it will forever be an unforgettable moment. I will always be able to recall watching the pink sky reflecting on the turquoise canal, hearing the distant singing of a gondolier serenading his customers whilst enjoying my light wine, salty crisps and great company.


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