Italian red wine
It seems, gets a pass when it comes to experimentation. Hurrah! Deservedly so. There is a wealth of delicious Rosso from all over Italy. But for some reason, adventure doesn’t seem to be creeping over into Bianco. But, these wines are some of the best and most interesting on the planet!
Italian white wines
In the US market, for a long time, were/are dominated by Pinot Grigio (and at one point Soave). Most of the popular competitors to Pinot Grigio and Soave were wines made to taste like them - bad versions of Fiano, Tocai (when it was just Tocai) and Falanghina.
I’m not saying terrific Pinot Grigio and amazing Soave (Garganega) doesn’t exist, it does, but the vast majority is an insipid representation. The total expression of the varietal is masked. The bulk is asked to hide its most interesting and energetic tendencies to impress guests.
Who is to blame?
The world-over producers are pushing the limits of allowance. And one great case is Soave. Garganega is a beautiful, expressive varietal that can be easily made less expressive by blending in Trebbiano di Soave and Chardonnay. With that blending there is a loss of wonderful mouthfeel and heady aromatics.
It’s not just Soave and Pinot Grigio that may have made the rest of Italy difficult to understand. Several other things work against Bianco. Dark bottles, for one, can often hide the ‘purity’ (as color) of the wine. But Italian whites age well, so the dark glass makes sense.
Conversely, some glass is clear, and shows off the darker hue certain grapes inherently have. Sometimes the grapes are sunburnt or the skins are just tinged with orange and when pressed off carry that color. And other times it’s just a little skin contact. Look at Ramato Pinot Grigio…beautiful!
And let’s clarify; color does not always indicate age. And age does not indicate flavor. Moreover, labels can be confusing. There are a lot of indigenous grapes in Italy. Some are hard to pronounce. Others don’t seem Italian at all, Kerner, Muller Thurgau or Silvaner. Even more are just puzzling. What is the place? What is the grape?
Varietals we may often see are Vermentino & Trebbiano. Vatietals maybe less often: Fiano, Falanghina, Grecante, Carricante or Arneis. And maybe some we rarely ever see: Prie Blanc, Palagrello Bianco, and Timorasso.
Wrap it up with Italian whites!
The thing about all of these wines is that they are often what we are looking for.
- Pairing with food? Yep! These wines were born for food. Grows together goes together was basically invented in Italy.
- And freshness? Check!
- Texture and acid? Of course.
- Ageability? Uh, so so well, and affordable.
Orange wine. Bubbles. They are all represented. Give Bianco a chance, it’s certain to expand your palate!