Tuesday, May 11, 2010

There's more to Italian Whites than Pinot Grigio

Most people think of hearty, acidic reds or Pinot Grigio when they think of Italian wines. But with over 1,000 grape varietals, Italy has a much wider variety of wines to offer - especially in whites.

I've talked about Italian Soave before - a crisp, citrusy, dry white that goes well with just about anything you want to eat on a warm summer day (o.k., think picnic, not BBQ). You can generally find a good one in your local store for around $15 - $20. For those who live near a Moore Bros., look for Cantina del Castello.

Yet Soave is not the only Italian white alternative to Pinot Grigio. There are hundreds of varietals so it's no surprise to discover a completely new grape. Last summer I had the pleasure of trying an Italian Pinot Nero (white wine made from the Pinot Noir grape) and last week I was introduced to Taburno Serra Docile Coda Di Volpe. Coda Di Volpe is a white grape I'd never tried (and until recently, the wine instructor who introduced me had never heard of it either). What a revelation! Fruit forward, yet dry, acidic wine with tropical notes and a great body that lightly coats the tongue. This past weekend I brought a bottle to a gathering featuring Asian food and three of us easily kicked the bottle in about 30 minutes! I knew it was a hit when my friend, Laurie D., who has a discerning palate where whites are concerned, was asking me where I picked it up and how much it was (Amanti Vino, $24.99).

So get out there and discover a grape you haven't tried and please be sure to share your finding with the rest of us!

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.

Monday, May 10, 2010

On Sunday my parents and I met for lunch at one of my mom's (and my) favorite restaurants in Southeastern PA (which also happens to be a BYO). As it was Mother's Day and as my mom is a huge fan of Pinot Noir, I thought it only fitting to bring a bottle of Merry Edwards Pinot Noir 2006 because the talented Ms. Edwards is a mother herself. Plus, she makes the best Pinot Noir out of Sonoma! Lots of bright dry cherry notes on the nose as well as the palate. And there's a nice hit of some oak on the finish.

If your mom loves good Pinot Noir, or just good wine, I'd recommend you bring her a bottle of Merry Edwards Pinot Noir next year. Then again, why wait another year? Merry Edwards Pinot Noir is not that easy to find and fairly expensive ($50 - $60 per bottle) but it's well worth it.

Although it's a date late, here's to my mom, your moms, Merry Edwards and all the other moms in the world! Now that's something to raise a glass to.

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Slacktastic Few Weeks

As my loyal readers (all 5 of you) must have realized by now, I have been extremely busy. Of course this has not kept me from drinking wine, it's just kept me from writing about it. I have a lot of highlights so I'll try to be brief, but, oh, who am I kidding?!?
Last Wednesday was the WSET class on Germany, Austria and Hungary. Germany and Austria are known for their Riesling and, to a lesser degree, their Gewurztraminer. Many people think of Riesling as a sweet or "Off Dry" wine but most of the best Riesling is dry. Since dry Riesling has been the trend as of late a few German producers have started labeling their wine as "Dry Riesling." However, you don't need to see "Dry Riesling" on the label to find an elegant, dry Riesling. Just ask your trusted wine store for some guidance. I'd try to explain it here, but the German (and Austrian) labeling system is about as complex as a good Riesling and a lot less delightful! So the next time you're looking for a crisp, refreshing glass of white wine, skip over the Sauvignon Blanc and French Chardonnay and give a Dry Riesling a try.

And Hungary?!? Most people are surprised to hear that Hungary makes wine, but Hungary Tokaji (pronounced Toe-Ki) is considered to be one of the best dessert wines in the world. If you get the chance to taste it, give it a try - even if you don't favor sweet wines.

This week is Italy and though I'm a little worried about trying to get through all of Italian wine in a 2 hour class, I had a good primer this past weekend. My friends and I headed out to Otto, an upscale pizzeria in New York City. we were celebrating 3 back to back to back birthdays - Joanna (the hostess with the mostest with the serious cooking chops), Wendy N. (the professor extraordinare with the wonderful dry wit) and Laurie D. (the internet and tech guru with the sense to laugh at every joke I attempt).
Since we ordered a bunch of appetizers and entrees to share and we had 7 different palates, I picked two very different wines - Guttarolo Primitivo 2007, a fruit forward, medium bodied red with a lot of berry notes on the nose and the palate and a Pelissero Nebbiolo 2007, a drier red, but also full of red fruit, albeit a bit more restrained. Both were really enjoyable and very well made. We finished off the evening with a Moscato D'Asti, which we all know is one of my favorite treats, or as I call it "liquid candy."
If only memorizing the finer points of Italian viticulture, viniculture and wine labeling were as easy as drinking Italian wine!
Until the next sniff, sip, or quaff, or until I find a way to get less overwhlemed,
Alli M.