The Essential Guide to Italian Wine by Daniele Cernilli is an essential resource for wine professionals, students, and enthusiasts of Italian wines. This trustworthy and easy to understand guide is accurate and exhaustive without using abstruse terms known just to experts and gives clarity to the extremely broad panorama of Italian wines, selecting those that most represent their winery (from the historic to the most interesting newcomers).
Earlier this year, I took a solo bucket list trip to Rome, Florence and Venice. It was everything I had ever hoped or dreamed and more… but I caught the cold most of Italy was coughing through during Easter. It took hold during the “Wine Tasting in Tuscany” portion of my trip, so I ended up drinking more herb tea than wine – crushing, when you think that in recent years, I have found myself loitering more and more in the Italian sections of my favorite wine stores. Therefore, I was ecstatic to be invited along with Ken to The Essential Guide to Italian Wine tasting event at the Wine House in West Los Angeles (Thank you, Allison and Please The Palate who invited us that day).
My Italian wine motto: Reds = Always! Whites = Bargains!
Seriously, once you branch out of Pinot Grigio / Soave territory, you can step into a fascinating world of gooseberries, lemongrass, wet stone, salinity, hazelnuts, Linden blossoms and much more. Italy is brimming with exciting and divinely unfamiliar white varietals.
Our very first sip of the event was a revelation, Offida Pecorino DOCG 2016 from Villa Angela (Velenosi) in Marche. I better knew pecorino as the cheese used in the traditional Roman pasta dish, cacio e pepe, but apparently, this grape varietal produces an increasingly popular wine in trendy urban Italy. On the nose, there is a kiss of acacia blossom and a tickle of thyme and sage. The palate bursts with lemony freshness, as ample acidity floats over a wet stone spine in a juicily balanced dance of minerals, flowers, and herbs. Superbly crisp and food friendly, it immediately made me want to drink it alongside a plate of cacio e pepe (in Rome). Conveniently, The Wine House sells this wine for $16.99 (Bargain!) so Ken and I were able to purchase a bottle each to take home after the event.
The last white I experienced before switching to reds, was Vorberg Pinot Bianca Riserva Alto Adige Terlano DOC 2015. This is a big, bold, beautiful wine from the northern tip of Italy. After an afternoon of spitting both red and white wines, this is the wine I chose to swallow before heading home. Delicious. The winemaker notes are so spot on, that I am going to share straight from the horse’s mouth:
“The multifaceted aroma of this wine derives from a combination of ripe fruit, including honeydew melon, white peach, pear and Golden Delicious apple, together with the aromas of quince jelly and dried fruit such as pear, orange and pineapple, on the one hand, and graphite notes and a hint of jasmine with a mineral touch on the other.
The interplay of fruity aromatic and salty components is repeated on the palate, where the soft and creamy elements gain greater strength in a wine with a lingering, firmly minerally and spicy character on the aftertaste.
Ideal in combination with a spicy fish soup, mussels in a pepper sauce and spaghetti allo scoglio as well as mussels au gratin, grilled ink fish and poached char; also one of the few good combinations with artichokes alla romana; excellent with mature Pecorino, a mature Parmesan and mostarda, and Tête de Moine.”
How can your mouth not be watering after reading the above? This is a serious white and the price point of around $42.00 is still a bargain for wine of this quality.
Perhaps I need to amend my Italian wine motto to: Reds = Always! Whites = Always! HELEN