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Robin Garr

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Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:51 pm

Thanks to David's reminder that we already have a decision, I'll turn my question into an early announcement. We'll dive into the diversity of Italian whites for July, from the crisp, minerally whites of the Northeast to Gavi in the Northwest; Orvieto and Frascati and on down to the lovely aromatic whites of the far South and Sicily, with their ancient ties to Greece. Yes, there's a lot of cheap, forgettable Pinot Grigio and the moral equivalent coming out of Italy, but if you pick and choose - and we share good finds - I think we'll discover that Italy is also home to some outstanding whites that can earn a place on any table.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Wine Focus: What's for July?

by David M. Bueker » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:02 am

I thought we had alreeady settled on Italian whites?
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Re: Wine Focus: What's for July?

by Robin Garr » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:36 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I thought we had alreeady settled on Italian whites?

I have the attention span of a gnat. Right, Italian whites, makes sense to me!
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:08 pm

It's funny, but I remember a time when Italian white wines seemed to have too much funk/sulfur for me to like them. Now, they are some of my favorites. Go figger.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by James Roscoe » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:51 pm

I had an Italian white tonight with shrimp! Fabu! It went well with cheese too! Great food wines!
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:42 am

Bob Henrick wrote:It's funny, but I remember a time when Italian white wines seemed to have too much funk/sulfur for me to like them. Now, they are some of my favorites. Go figger.


So Bob, here is a challenge. Try to find a Marsanne in Italy!!
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:32 am

James Roscoe wrote:I had an Italian white tonight with shrimp! Fabu! It went well with cheese too! Great food wines!

What was it, James?
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by James Roscoe » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:52 am

Robin Garr wrote:
James Roscoe wrote:I had an Italian white tonight with shrimp! Fabu! It went well with cheese too! Great food wines!

What was it, James?

If I could spell it I would have! Falahangina?
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:58 am

I think there are a few whites out there which will be good with seafood. In particular, I am thinking of some of the dry whites from Sicily. Scurati is one of my faves!

Here is a brief precis of Italian whites.......>

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/wines/major-whites.asp
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:59 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:It's funny, but I remember a time when Italian white wines seemed to have too much funk/sulfur for me to like them. Now, they are some of my favorites. Go figger.


Bob,

I think the overall level of Italian white wine making has increased quite a bit in the 15 years I've been importing. Many of the wines used to show too much sulfur at Vinitaly because many of them had just been bottled, but that is much less common now.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:07 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Here is a brief precis of Italian whites.......>

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/wines/major-whites.asp

Bob, I am not picking on you, but that might not be the best source. It appears to be a very brief précis, with some major omissions and a few obvious errors. ("Pinto" Grigio, and declaring Soave a "cousin" of Pinot Grigio for two.)

The Italian Trade Commission's English-language pages are a usually reliable, albeit positive industry source.

If you go to this page:
http://italianmade.com/wines/appellations.cfm

and choose "white" from the pulldown menu, the result will give you a very thorough index of links to pages with extensive information about all the white DOCs and DOCGs.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:10 pm

Thanks Robin, your link is pretty good. I was just trying to get things going!

I have to say that is a wonderful selection of wines on Olivers website. I just took a peek.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:43 pm

Robin,

I agree, italianmade.com is a very useful reference.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:23 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Robin,

I agree, italianmade.com is a very useful reference.

I wouldn't look to it for any critical commentary - it is intended, after all, to promote. But it does a thorough job of presenting the wines and regions of Italy (and a good overview of characteristic regional food) in a readable, organized way.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:23 pm

James Roscoe wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:
James Roscoe wrote:I had an Italian white tonight with shrimp! Fabu! It went well with cheese too! Great food wines!

What was it, James?

If I could spell it I would have! Falahangina?


James, Some that I have really really liked the past 5-8 years are Falenghina, Fiano, and Greco. Of course there are a lot of good pinot Grigio from NE Italy that makes for good summer sippers too. Recently bought one from Monte Campo for $5.99 per then got 10% discount for a case discount. Nice pg, if not great. Makes for a nice summer sipper on the deck with a good book though.
Last edited by Bob Henrick on Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:37 pm

Well, no, a reference isn't a critical commentary.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Dale Williams » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:05 pm

James Roscoe wrote:If I could spell it I would have! Falahangina?


Falanghina

Italianmade.com is indeed a useful reference.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:55 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:Well, no, a reference isn't a critical commentary.

What I meant to say is that a reference from a trade association may be relied upon for fact but perhaps not for opinion.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Oliver McCrum » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:12 pm

I was avoiding posting to avoid the appearance of crass salesmanship, since too many of the Italian wines I taste during the year are my own, but with all of your forbearance, another Falanghina:
2009 Falanghina, La Sibilla, Campi Flegrei
Falanghina grown on ungrafted vines just up the coast from Naples. Lean, distinctive, minerally, almost Muscadet-like; hints of lemon-peel, herbs; only 12% alcohol which is refreshing these days; worked well as a dry aperitif with olives and salami. I find really dry clean white wines get my appetite started, and this is no exception.

I import this wine.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:44 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:I was avoiding posting to avoid the appearance of crass salesmanship, since too many of the Italian wines I taste during the year are my own, but with all of your forbearance, another Falanghina:
2009 Falanghina, La Sibilla, Campi Flegrei
Falanghina grown on ungrafted vines just up the coast from Naples. Lean, distinctive, minerally, almost Muscadet-like; hints of lemon-peel, herbs; only 12% alcohol which is refreshing these days; worked well as a dry aperitif with olives and salami. I find really dry clean white wines get my appetite started, and this is no exception.

I import this wine.


Oliver, sell it in Kentucky! :-)
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:19 pm

WTN: `08 Tenuta di Altavilla Fiano di Avellino, Villa Matilde Campania.

Empson import, 13% alc, $24 Cdn, good natural cork. Opened for half-hour, did not serve too chilled.

Color. Medium to deepish yellow, no green.

Nose. Straightaway I get the nutty tones with some pear, citrus and apricot. Elegant aromas, not tropical.

Palate. Initial thought is dry, nice balance, good acidity. Well-made wine here, no oak with stonefruit on long finish. "Lime...put it in a Grun V tasting" from across the table. Not really all that fruity but still quite complex, have not had a lot of experience with this varietal.

*******after 24 hrs shows some almond tones on the finish, acidity holds it all together. Interesting.

http://www.italianmade.com/wines/doc10145.cfm
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Don Appleton » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:43 am

Hello,
I'm new to this board, been active on some other boards for several years. I'm a wine educator in the Lehigh Valley PA area and Italian wines is one of my favorite topics to teach and talk about, so this is a great thread. Some of my favorite whites would be -
Almondo Arneis Bricco delle Cigliege 2009
Jermann Vinnae 2007 (Ribolla Gialla)
Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino 2005
Terredora “Loggio della Serra” Greco di Tufo 2008
All of the above have medium or higher acidity as well as interesting and complex aroma and palate notes; the Greco is more tropical fruit and more full-body along with a little funky note from the volcanic soil in Compania. All great for summer drinking.
Cheers!

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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Tim York » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:24 pm

I just been down to the cellar to search for a bottle of Italian white and found just one. By contrast i guess that there are between 100 & 150 bottles of Italian red. I do buy Italian whites but I have never felt the need to mature them and they usually disappear having given a lot of pleasure within 9 months. What Italian white wine types benefit from a few years ageing, as for example top Riesling, Loire Chenin, Sauternes and white Burgundy (if premox free) do? Any views?

My last purchases of Italian white were very satisfactory ones of 6 bottles each of Grechetto and Orvieto when visiting the estates last October. The remaining bottle is an Orvieto, about which I wrote in late November 2009 -

When I tasted it at the estate, I liked Orvieto Superiore “Lunata” 2008 – Tenuta Le Velette for its fresh and lively fragrance combined with smooth and quite rich fruit and lovely oriental spices. Although I have read that Orvieto does not travel, I can confirm that it was just as good, if not better, with the typically Belgian “moules marinières” at home; 16/20++.

I fear that this last bottle may already have lost some freshness without compensating complexity. We will see when I open it in the next few days. Meanwhile I will look for some others but the choice within a 20km radius is not so great.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:07 pm

Tim, look forward to any TN you can muster!

Don, welcome. Some nice wines there, where are you based?
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