On Italian TV Show, Wine Gets in the Act

Move over Duff beer: a red wine called “without bitterness” with a small part in a successful sitcom found a producer and debuts this week at Italy’s premier wine fair, Vinitaly.
It first had a fictional cameo on “I Cesaroni,” (The Cesaronis) a prime-time show airing on former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s flagship Canale 5.
It is one of a few modern shows about blended families with a Romeo-Juliet twist (like “Turkish for Beginners“) — just think “The Brady Bunch” with a little step-incest to spice things up.
Most of the actors are familiar faces — the kind that crop up in cell-phone ads and it shows — and while I’m not an especial fan of the rom-com there’s something to be said for what may be the first TV show with a vino tie-in.
The grape got into the act in an episode that aired mid-March where gruff uncle Cesare and patriarch Giulio team up to buy a small vineyard, after a small lottery win.
The Cesare character’s signature line is “che amarezza” (what bitterness) so it’s fitting that the once-fictional wine was given a name, “Senz’Amarezza” that means it didn’t leave a bad taste. While it’s not the first time fiction crosses the line in Italy (the Nepotism game show comes to mind), at least this is positive product placement.
Respected family-run winery Cantina Cerquetta, producers since 1793, liked the idea so much they created an IGT blend of Merlot and San Giovese and a white Frascati, proving that real life sometimes goes down even smoother than fiction.


Today’s post by Christopher Allbritton – Iraq’s Murky Battle for Basra – is another great example of his ability to get to the heart of Iraq politics in clear and insightful way. That’s why we’re calling it – and a piece from a few weeks ago predicting the very tensions that erupted last week – to your attention as a solid pieces of analysis and reporting.

A few weeks ago – just as he was settling into Dubai where he’ll be writing from now on (fewer explosions) – Christopher filed Worries For Iraq spelling out the challenges the country and the U.S. face as the year moves on. It’s a prescient piece that led much of last week’s analysis and commentary.

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