Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest where you never run out of great people to meet and new things to taste and learn.
The wines selected for this post all are made from lesser-known white wine grapes. The fact that a variety doesn’t have the worldwide name recognition as let’s say, Chardonnay, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc, doesn’t mean the grape isn’t capable of producing exciting wines. A countless number of wine grapes – many ancient and native to Italy -- remain well under the radar in the region. You may not be able to pronounce the name of the grape or the region, but over time you will learn. And you never know, while exploring the vast world of wines you just may find a new favorite or two to add to your list. It goes without saying that the trio of Grechetto, Trebbiano and Pecorino is a great (and delicious) place to discover new Italian wines and broaden your palate. For further information and where you can find these selections, please see my tasting notes below.
|Castello di Magione 2013 Monterone Grechetto|
Castello di Magione 2013 Monterone Grechetto (SRP $25): Clay Fritz, owner and winemaker of Fritz Winery in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, found himself bitten by the Italian wine bug during a trek to Umbria to join the ‘The Order of Malta’ – an ancient humanitarian service that provides global relief to areas impacted by natural disasters. This visit led Mr. Fritz to start a small wine business where he imports select Umbrian wines to California. Grechetto is a white grape variety grown mainly in the Umbria region of central Italy. This selection offers an inviting nose with citrus blossom and stone fruit flavors accented by a dab of floral perfume. It is medium-bodied in the mouth with a plump texture and round, yet bright acids. Overall, a very delightful sipper and food wine that can stand up to richer dishes including white cream sauces and the like. Giulia Luccioli, Senior Managing Director of a group of leading wine estates in Italy said, “Grechetto wines are typically paired with truffles (abundant in Umbria),” during a recent chat. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the delicious Malbec Mr. Fritz grows on his Dry Creek Valley property. So there you have it, friends; a very nice red and white recommendation for the dinner table! Region: Colli del Trasimeno DOC, Umbria, Italy. Other info: ABV 13.5%, cork enclosure, 11%, all stainless, cork enclosure, imported by Fritz Imports in Cloverdale, CA. Click here to find this wine.
|Cantina Dei Colli Ripani 2014 Trebbiano|
Cantina Dei Colli Ripani 2014 Trebbiano (SRP $12): Trebbiano is quietly one of the most widely planted varieties in the world. In France the variety is known as Ugni Blanc, and besides producing wine, the grape plays an important role in the production of brandy spirits. This wine hails from Marche, a region in central Italy where Trebbiano thrives. Pale straw in color, this wine is fresh and racy, delivering a delicate mix of wild flowers, orange blossom and citrus peel. There’s a suggestion of beeswax that’s more noticeable on the nose than the palate. This wine has a balancing acid lift with a short-to-medium long, clean finish. It is a great aperitif and will work well with most salads and fresh seafood. Overall, a straight-forward yet well-made wine that delights and satisfies without breaking the piggy bank. Region: Marche, Italy. Other info: ABV 12%, cork enclosure, imported by ZGR Imports LLC in Dana Point, CA. Click here to find this wine.
|Rio Maggio 2012 Falerio Pecorino|
Rio Maggio 2012 Falerio Pecorino (SRP $23): By the 1970s the ancient Pecorino grape was nearly extinct. Producers like Rio Maggio and other growers revived the variety and today it is experiencing a bit of a renaissance in Marche. Pecorino is native to the region and is naturally low-yielding. It is known for its aging potential and is said to show its true character at 3 to 4 years of age. This wine pours a light straw yellow color. It is round and rather broad textured in the mouth, with fine acid balance. It leads with appealing floral notes, fennel seed and citrus blossom. There’s a trailing honeyed nuttiness – which I find appealing -- that runs through the finish. As you would any fuller-bodied Chardonnay, serve and enjoy this intriguing white wine at around 55°~57°. Locals enjoy Pecorino with fresh regional seafood. It also pairs well with the cheese that shares its name. Region: Pecorino Falerio, Marche, Italy. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured in stainless, spends approximately four months on lees, cork enclosure, imported by ZGR Imports LLC in Dana Point, CA. Click here to find this wine.
I would like to thank Protocol Wine Studio for hosting the month-long program on central Italy. It was a very informative and enjoyable event. To join this highly interactive, Twitter-based wine education program use hashtag #winestudio and tune in every Tuesday at 9PM EST. The subject may vary from month-to-month, but it is always wine-themed, educational, and a whole lot of fun. Cheers!
Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.