Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bargain-Hunting with Italian White Wines

Italian white wines get less love. Sure there are great white wines, many with correspondingly high price points, but it’s not always easy finding tasty but memorable vino bianco for relatively little money. 

There are plenty of cheap wines, but most of them are forgettable. I’m not saying any of these wines will change your life, but at $8-$23 a bottle, there’s a lot of summery goodness to be found in Italy’s white wines.

N.V. La Marca Prosecco - Italy, Veneto, Prosecco
SRP: $17
Floral nose with white peaches and honey and spiced tea. Spritzy and lively on the palate, with flavors of white peach, guava nectar, hint of honey, moderate sweetness but still clean and refreshing. Balanced but not cloying, no bitterness. (86 points)

N.V. Cantine Maschio Prosecco di Treviso Brut - Italy, Veneto, Prosecco di Treviso
SRP: $12
Very pale lemon color. Aromas of white peaches, orange and cherry blossoms, very floral and bright. Refreshing cut on the palate, but a creamy appeal, with juicy white peach, green grapes and green melon fruit. Some white floral and orange blossom notes. Bright and zesty, slight floral sweetness. Fun, uncomplicated stuff. (86 points)

2014 Aia Vecchia Vermentino Maremma Toscana - Italy, Tuscany, Maremma, Maremma Toscana)
SRP: $12
Pale straw color. Nose of tart green apples, lemon peel, straw. Tangy and bright, some creaminess to the body, a bit of a waxy feel. Tart green melon and apples, some lemon, notes of cucumber water and floral potpourri. I like the sea salt and hint of mineral as well. Solid stuff for the price. (86 points)

SRP: $8
Medium yellow color. Fairly neutral aromatics (white peach, some green melon rind), hints of faint honeysuckle and lemon peel. Creamy body, bright acid, flavors of green melon, yellow apple, lemon pith, white tea and honeycomb elements. Good weight on the palate. Not complicated, but very refreshing. For $8, a solid summer sipper with salads and grill-outs. 50% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, 30% Trebbiano, 10% Greco, 10% Malvasia del Lazio. (85 points)

2013 Donnafugata Lighea Sicilia IGT - Italy, Sicily, Sicilia IGT
SRP: $23
A tropical fruit salad on the nose, with honeysuckle and lychee and lime drizzled on top. Crisp on the palate, with tingling acid, lots of papaya, melon and white peaches. Some herbal and white flower notes, white tea, river stones and saline. Dry, crisp, complex, begging for all sorts of Mediterranean food. A dry Zibibbo (Muscat d’Alexandria). (88 points)

SRP: $25
Pale yellow color. Bright and clean on the nose, white and orange flowers, white peaches, some lime and papaya. Creamy body, generously textured, crisp acid keeps it clean. A bright personality but some complexity of fruit flavors (lime, peach, green pear, papaya) mixed in with honeysuckle, green tea and chalky elements. Crisp, clean, moderately long finish, summer and food friendly but some interesting aspects to think about as well. (87 points)

2013 Rocca Sveva Soave Classico - Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico
SRP: $15
Medium lemon colored, a slight spritz in the glass. Smells like the fresh laundry, with lavender, white flowers and cotton on top of some lemon and green apple. On the palate, medium bodied, crisp acid, this is a juicy and fresh wine. The green apple and lime fruit is crunchy and tangy, backed up by some honey and lemon tea. Fun stuff. (85 points)

SRP: $20
Light yellow color. Fresh and clean on the nose, with lavender, white lilies, lemon peel, some kiwi, cucumber water. Medium bodied with fresh acid and a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Flavors of green melon, kiwi and lemon pith mix with notes of river stones and green herbs, a bit of fresh laundry notes. Just a hint of minerality, which lingers on the finish. (87 points)

2014 Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio - Italy, Venezie IGT
SRP: $14
Medium straw color. Smells like kiwi, guava nectar, white flowers. Medium bodied, medium-low acidity, a clean and simple appeal with lime zest, guava and yellow and white flowers. Not thrilling, but a good summer sipper. (83 points)

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