Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Venice Vino Sfuso on our minds

The remaining reader of this blog will remember our interest in Vino Sfuso (wine on draft). We frequently wonder why the kind of transaction to be found in Venice and a few other places in Italy and to a very much lesser extent France has not been tried out elsewhere and what would happen if it was. The transaction we mean is the one whereby people take an empty 1.5 litre or 2 litre mineral water bottle to their local Vino Sfuso shop and get it filled with any of a number of different wines for about 2 - 3 Euros. We have witnessed the scene many times. The customers are people picking up wine on their way home. The wine will be drunk in the next couple of days because that is how long it will last. They buy the wine regularly and have a chat while they are in the shop. There are also bottles available - some of which are definitely sophisticated costing well over 50 Euros. This is the wall opposite the Vino Sfuso at Al Canton del vin

In this way, the merchant knows how much Vino Sfuso he will sell which allows him or her to store the wine without using gas to keep it from oxydising. He or she knows that they will sell a demijohn of this or that in a day and so when they have done so they just put a note on it saying 'esaurito' (sold out) and start a new one in the morning.

We have tasted wine from stainles steel vats which is stored under gas but it always bears the taste so buying from this source doesn't seem sensible to us. We found on this trip that there are different sizes of storage vessels. here for example are the quite small ones to be found in a shop in San Polo called 'La Cantina di Calzavara Ivona'

Our favourite remains 'Al Canton del Vin' especially as they gave us a full blown tasting and then refused to charge anything whatsoever on the grounds that we had hardly had a glass of wine in total. Most un-Venetian.

It would also seem that Veneziani like their Vino Sfuso even when eating Cicchetti. This is delivered at Fiore by means of taps on a barrel set into the wall:

The wines available from this contraption included Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Prosecco. We tried the first two and both were excellent.

Vino Sfuso is even available from quite up-market shops such as Vino......e Vini (Salizada del Pignater, Castello)
and more modest establishments such as the little bar near the Campo Bandiera e Moro called Cantina Antica Vigna is where we discovered Ancelotta in 2008.

Sadly there seems to be no Ancelotta this year and Giuliano in Edinburgh even told us that Mancini's crop had failed and therefore he had not produced any more 'Il blu' which is a very sad state of affairs indeed. Notice the fancy barrels here:

So would it work in the UK? Even if problems concerning tax, duty, weights and measures, hygeine etc. were overcome it seems, according to expert advice, the Great British Public might not buy on the way home but consume the wine in or outside the shop, get drunk and make a nuisance of themselves. This is a great pity.

By the way, we didn't see one chewing gum mark on any pavement in Venice. Could this have anything to do with the fact that we have never seen anyone drunk in Italy either?

1 comment:

billmarsano said...

I'm surprised to see you sying that you could taste the gas that wine had been stored under. Surprised because a) it never occurred to me and b)I've never known anyone else to say so, which strikes me as odd what with the growing popularity of the home gas-syustem called Private Preserve. Could it be there's a difference in the gas used?