Sunday, March 14, 2010

Italian Wines

While 90% of the wine I drink is with food, the other 10% can be very interesting.  That was the case yesterday when I went to a tasting of 14 Italian wines from DSWE (Domaine Select Wine Estates), a New york based importer.

The wines covered a broad spectrum from white to red, the north to the south of Italy, and from inexpensive to near prohibitive in cost. Some wine came home with me and more is on the way. 

There were three white wines to begin the tasting. The first was a sparkling wine, Villa Sparina Brut Cortese from the Gavi area of Piedmonte.  The wine was made from the Cortese grape.  The nose and taste had some peach pit aromas and there were some roasted nuts mixed in for good measure.  Very full bodied wine.  Bubbles were acceptable, but on the low side.  There was some decent acid in the wine but not as much as I would have liked.  There was a sweetness before the end, but the finish was dry.  All in all my least favorite wine of the day and at $29.99 not one that I would buy.

The second wine was from the same producer, Villa Sparina.  This time it was a 2007 Gavi di Gavi, also made from the Cortese grape.  There were peaches and pears in the nose along with toasted nuts.  There was great acid in this wine and a light and pleasant finish with a suggestion of mixed herbs at the very end.  Nice easy, drinking, fresh tasting wine, but at $18.99 not a great buy.

The third white was definitely a horse of a different color.  The wine was a Vinosia Greco di Tufo from Campania in southern Italy, pictured above.  This was a wine that demanded attention.  There was nothing shy about the nose that screamed green table grapes and whole, un-roasted almonds.  The almonds were particularly strong and there was also a bit of saltiness or sea spray to the wine.  The wine had a huge, almost oily body that was very reminiscent of a Condrieu.  There was a slight bit of oxidation to the wine and it gave it a faint suggestion of a Fino or Manzanilla Sherry, faint but definitely there.  The acid was a little bit low but this was a full bodied and interesting wine.  It was priced at $19.99 but it was worth investing in two bottles.  Good, unusual wine.

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