What better place to conduct a water tasting in Italy, than in the city of water – Venice. Spontaneously I decided to jump on a train, seek out the fine waters the city has to offer and bring tasting notes to you. On the way I hope to provide you with a glimpse of the beauty this unique city has to offer. One of my favorite cities in the world and a magical place to explore.
I will be mainly focusing on Italian waters and there are plenty to choose from. They have taken over the city as there seems to be a shortage of foreign waters. There are a few around. I discovered a very special non-Italian water which I will include in my review.
The first water I am tasting is from the town of Fuiggi in the Lazio region. It runs through volcanic deposits in the Ernici mountains. In Europe this water is classified as Ogliomineral water, with a low mineral content. As a water sommelier I am focusing on water beneficial to wellness, but this water is advertised for its health benefits, primary for supporting breaking down kidney stones. I am cautious of such health claims, but you never know.
The water has a low minerality with a TDS of 181. The water has a light , easy flowing and mellow taste, it almost calms the taste buds. Nice, straightforward still water for a relaxing, smooth experience.
Here you see the water in front of the Bridge of Sighs. It is made of marble with stone bar windows. It connects the interrogation rooms with the new prison in the Doge palace. When prisoners would be escorted over the bridge to the prison , they would take one final glimpse of beautiful Venice before disappearing into the darkness of the prison.
One of my favorite waters in Italy has to be part of my tasting. I have written about this water in many tastings and blogs before so it does not need any special introduction. From the town Villa Panna and a low TDS of 241 it comes with a crisp , light and almost lemony taste. It is interesting to compare this water to the other low minerality waters. While I found the other ones more full bodied and rounded, Aqua Panna always stands out with a lighter and crisper appearance on the taste buds.
Here you see Aqua Panna next to St Marks Campanile, the bell tower of St. Marks Basilica. Its 98 meters high and collapsed in 1902. It was rebuild in 1912 and inaugurated exactly 1,000 year after the original foundation was laid.
I have not blogged much about this water, but it is one of the most popular waters inside of Italy. Some good restaurants around the world have it on their water menu.
The brand is located in Scorze, near Venice. The city of Venice pumps their fountain and tab water from the same region and proudly calls it ‘Aqua Veritas’ – true water.
The water comes in many bottle shapes and sizes, I tried San Benedetto in the new eco green bottle. Good to see when major water brands move forward and contribute to a better foot print in the water industry. The water is on the edge of the medium minerality category with a TDS of 264. It has a smooth taste with a robust, balanced texture , there is a certain weight in the entrance with a clean finish. A nice easy flowing taste experience.
I found Fonte Essentiale a remarkable still water. It comes from the Terme di Borario, 255 km northwest from Venice. It has a very high minerality of a 2,480 TDS which is unusual for still waters. High minerality waters have a high complexity and a different taste experience than low minerality still waters. You can feel this complexity on the taste buds. On entry it feels heavy and bold, complex as the taste buds experience the layers of this wonderful tasting water. I found it soft on the edges as you drink the water with a nice and energetic finish.
Here you find Fonte Essentiale on top of the Rialto bridge , the oldest bridge spanning over the Canale Grande. It is a beautiful stone arch bridge and a major tourist attraction in Venice.
S. Pellegrino also does not need much of an introduction as it is a well known super brand and practically available all over the world. Yet it cannot be excluded from an Italian water tasting. What makes S. Pelegríno so special are it’s bold bubbles and yet a well rounded experience in the finish. With a TDS of 841 it comes with a high minerality. I love the energy of the texture, a truly enjoyable drinking experience. It has a pleasant, citric entrance with a lively finish.
While I selected Italian waters for this tasting, I came across this sparkling water from Slovakia, Donat Mg. With a TDS of 13,197 it is off the chart in terms of minerality so I had to experience it and create some tasting notes for you. The minerals contained in this water are several grams (1 g of Magnesium, 1.6 g of sodium, 2.1 g of sulfate) instead of the milligrams normal in waters. I know my taste buds are in for a stormy tasting experience. As expected the taste is quite complex with a bold set of bubbles. Just opening the bottle feels like unleashing a monster.
A surprising mellow entrance is followed by several waves of mineral tastes, in a pleasant way. At the finish you almost feel that the water saved the best for last and you experience a boost of minerals to be remembered. The water brand advertises the water good for digestion (scientifically proven in a study in Berlin). You almost get an Alka Seltzer experience and I can imagine it to be a good remedy for hangovers. If you are in for a special meal, a good water for complex flavors, maybe even a good steak.
There a hundreds and hundreds of wonderful spring and mineral waters in Italy, so we only scratched the surface of the Italian water portfolio. Hope you enjoyed the journey to Venice and let me know if you want me to review more of the Italian or a different water selection.