Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Holiday Cheer This Evening: Buying Wine "Alla Spina" in Cannaregio
For those interested, I should note that this little wine shop (which is even smaller than it appears in these images shot with a wide angle lens) is located beside the Cinema Giorgione, a short distance from the church of Sant' Apostoli (heading in the direction of I Gesuiti). Upon the recommendation of a local friend, I ended up purchasing 4 liters of prosecco (frizzante, not firma) here, one liter of Raboso del Piave, and one liter of Pinot Nero for a Christmas day party we were going to attend. All alla spina, or "on tap".
The total cost: 17 euro.
If you'd like to carry your wine home in glass bottles, you should be sure to bring your own clean empty ones. Otherwise wine alla spina will be dispensed into previously-used plastic water bottles, or, if you're willing to pay an additional 40 centesimi per liter, into new bottles shaped like those typically used for wine--but still made out of plastic. (I sprung for two such bottles for the red wines, mistakenly thinking they were glass.)
It's not unusual for the Italians I've met here to have very very precise notions about where and from whom to buy any and everything--from coda di rospo (tail of monkfish) to finocchio (fennel) to outboard motors. Each of the small wine shops you see around Venice get their wine alla spina from their own specific cantina (the name and location of which will be posted). When I arrived on Christmas day with the wine I asked my host, who's originally from Bologna but has lived in Venice for 5 years, why he'd specifically directed me to this wine shop. It certainly wasn't convenient to where he (or I) lived.
It turned out he'd gotten the recommendation from a mutual acquaintance of ours, a native Venetian but, even more crucially, a gondoliere. For, as my friend explained, this gondoliere lived no closer to this wine shop than either of us did, but as gondoliers famously drink dappertutto (everywhere) they can always be counted on to know the best places in the city to get whatever kind of alcohol you're thirsty for.
And though I can't pretend to know the first thing about wines, or to vouch for the taste of anyone at the party, all of the wines I brought seemed to go over quite well. For just 2.10 euro for a liter of Raboso, you may want to try it yourself.
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E tanti auguri a te, Yvonne!Delete
The upper photo is great!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Sasha, it's a nice place.Delete
Nice photos of everyday venetian life in small simple shops I like to discover across the “calle”. They show that there are not only luxury stores and wealthy tourists, and that Venezia is still alive, I hope for an even long time. The red hat of the young woman on the first photo looks like the “corno ducale” of the Doges. Thank you and nice holiday season!ReplyDelete
Your comment, Auraisien, inspired me to write something about this shop, so that others, too, who (like I) haven't already visited such shops might give them a try. They are very much neighborhood places--almost intimidatingly so, sometimes. But the pleasure of walking into a place that actually still feels authentically "foreign" is one that becomes ever more rare for travelers--though it's usually what most of us claim we want, and what the tourism industry continues to market (even in its most packaged offerings). And I hadn't noticed the "corno," but you're certainly right. Happy holidays to you!Delete
I usually buy mine from Cantine gia Schiavi in Dorsoduro or Nave D'Oro in Campo Santa Margherita. But I have spied one very close to Campo San Giacomo that I have been anxious to try. Now, you have added this shop to my growing list!ReplyDelete
Well, it's good to always have something more to look forward to, Susie, isn't it? Certainly when it comes to wine. I'll be interested in the results of your "research".Delete
Thanks for this. We had an apartment in Cannaregio for carnival and I remembered this article. Nice guys and cheap reasonable quality wineReplyDelete
I'm happy to hear that you liked it, too, Andrew, especially as I'm sure you know more about what you're drinking than I do!Delete