Last week I mentioned Peugeot (the worst car I’ve ever owned); to be specific, it was a Peugeot 406 but everything about it contributed to my dismay – the car, the service (or lack of it), even the sound it made! “Can you hear that? Yes, depreciation!” Having said that, hard on Peugeot’s tail is Fiat. Now I’m whining about Fiat this week because I own one so I am qualified to have a moan given the issues I have with it.
It’s very much a love-hate relationship. Love because I bomb around it in and it does what it’s supposed to (i.e. carry people and stuff from A to B). However, it has several failings which, like clockwork, cost me money every year. The front tyres wear badly, and disproportionately (more on the inside – despite regular tracking), and need replacing far too often. The engine belt pulley consistently vibrates itself loose every twelve to eighteen months. These faults are simply bad design and Fiat, in my humble opinion, should own up, address the problems and compensate owners. But they don’t. Big car companies rarely do unless it’s a life threatening issue (and they lie through their teeth – remember VW and their stinky diesels).
Not everything that comes out of Italy is an absolute disaster. Valentino Rossi, pasta, opera, pizza, cappuccinos, Vespas, Ducatis and gelato, not to mention their colourful language. And I’ll agree that when it comes to fashion and classic art, they’re not found wanting. But cars? Mmmm…
Fiat, no. Alfa Romeo, well they are lovely but terribly unreliable by all accounts (have you watched Top Gear?). Maseratis are a bit too steady looking for my liking. And, if I was fortunate enough to win the Euro Lottery, then a Lamborghini (they are beautiful) would always trump a Ferrari (is it me or do Ferraris designs date quite quickly?) One exception, the Dino.
Apologies, this is beginning to sound like Monty Python’s ‘So what have the Romans ever done for us?’ sketch. The Romans did actually come up with the goods – concrete being one of them. Oh and wine, yes they did like a tipple, drinking it everyday (but it was watered down in fairness). They even had a god of wine, Liber! This was Bacchus by the way, before he got famous (or infamous). Honestly I checked it on GodChecker.com – it’s real!
Anyway, wine is grown all over Italy, as you’d expect, and the one region’s wine that will trip off your tongue like a gliding Italian waiter is Pinot Grigio. There are plenty more and they’re excellent – we’ll certainly visit Italy again in the future. But for now, here’s a cheeky little white that made the grade this week…
Pinot Grigio Garda
Light, elegant, unpretentious. It’s going to be best super chilled (I confess, I pop mine in the freezer for 30 minutes). Lidl says: “From picturesque vineyards around Lake Garda, this is an attractive, easy-drinking Pinot Grigio. It’s lightly-scented, crisp and dry. Enjoy on it’s own or with food.” Obviously you can enjoy it on its own, but with pasta, a pizza or seafood, this chirpy little Pinot will sing like a lark on your tongue (assuming it doesn’t get pickled first – the Italians do love a pickled songbird – touchy subject). It’s a great, no-nonsense white. My advice, buy a dozen bottles and pop them in the cupboard. It’ll keep for a year because, as Lidl, is known to say, “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Italy is wonderful. It’s romantic (they have Rome). They have Lake Garda. They have Tuscany for god’s sake! And the Amalfi Coast. The food is wonderful and the wine is equally so. In a word, Italy is fantastico. But Fiats, not so much. I have a word for those too – merda!
Alla Prossima! (To the Next Time)
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