Monday, August 11, 2014

Three Inexpensive Italian Whites for Summer

It’s easy to brush off Pinot Grigio. Most of the stuff you see on the shelves in supermarkets is crisp, clean and boring. But some of it can be quite interesting, and the interesting stuff is frequently cheaper than Santa Margherita. A lot of Italian whites bring freshness and fun for a relatively low price. The key is finding some compelling ones.

I recently tasted two Pinot Grigios and a Grillo/Viognier blend from Italy, and found all three to be enjoyable summer sippers that offer something to contemplate.

Clean gold color. Refreshing minerals on the nose, some honey drizzled on top of white peaches and papaya. On the palate, this is medium-bodied with moderate acid, a fresh and peachy feel to it. A blend of citrus and tropical fruits backed up by some subtle spice. Creamy but not rich, crisp but not quite zesty, an all-around solid Pinot Grigio. 
(85 points)

2013 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Cliffhanger Vineyards
Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Trentino
Light gold color. Lemons, lime some papaya on the nose, clean laundry and sea salt. Creamy body, waxy mouthfeel, some nice concentration and weight but crisp acid. Whipped honey and orange marmalade accent the papaya and key lime. Dry, with sea shells and minerals, but plump as well. Partial maloactic fermentation and a bit of oak add some creamy-nutty notes. Impressive for the price. 
(87 points)

2012 Feudo Arancio Dalila Sicilia IGT
Italy, Sicily, Sicilia IGT
Bright gold color. White peach, salted lime, mango slices, orange blossom and daisies. Creamy and plump on the palate, with medium acid. Flavors of apricot, mango, pineapple and white peach, blended in together like a tropical fruit salad with lime drizzled on it. Pleasantly waxy texture with notes of dried flowers and potpourri, along with some salt  and honeycomb. A lot of fun, very food-friendly and crowd-pleasing. 80% Grillo and 20% Viognier. 
(87 points)

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