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Wednesday, April 12, 2017
From the Islands
Vermentino from Sardinia
And a Grillo from Sicily
According to Vino Italiano, “the deepest expression of the grape is found among the Vermentino di Gallura DOCG wines” and we've got a beauty for you below.
Over the centuries, and up to quite recently, Sardinia (just like Italy in general) was going for quantity over quality in wine. For example Vino Italia says that in 1974, the island’s Trexenta Co-op made about 100,000 hectolitres from more than two thousand acres. By the early years of this century, they were producing 15,000 to 20,000 hectolitres from 700 acres approx.
No wonder then that The Modern History of Italian Wine, a book I keep referring to in this current series, hail Cantina Gallura in the zone of the same name, under director Dino Addis, as one of the most influential Italian wine-makers of the 1990s. The large co-operative was persuaded to reduce yield from 150 to 90 quintals. There were other changes, most noticeably “an immediate loss of income”.
But, “the courage to change” led to “a winning decision” and in 1996, they obtained the DOCG, “the first and only one in Sardinia”.
Cantina Sociale Gallura Vermentino di Gallura Superiore (DOCG) Gemellae, 2013, 12%, €17.85 Le Caveau
Colour here is a light straw. There are modest white fruit aromas, floral notes too. Smooth, dry and fruity on the palate, a great depth of flavour (apple and melon) and concentration along with a long citrus-y finish. Good acidity too and they recommend trying it with fish dishes, vegetable soups, salads, and white meats. I found it excellent as an aperitif. Don't over-chill this gem, serve at 10-12 degrees and you'll have a very agreeable winner. Very Highly Recommended.
Cusumano Shamaris Grillo Sicilia (DOC) 2015, 13%, €18.95 (€14.95 on sale) O’Brien’s
A surprisingly excellent wine of no little heft, helped by four months on fine lees, from a modest grape, Grillo, that is supposed to be on the wane on the island of Sicily. US wine critic James Suckling regularly gives Shamaris good marks, including 91 points for this vintage.
It has a mid gold colour, bright. There are inviting white fruit aromas, blossom notes too. Fresh and lively fruit (including melon), good body, lovely balance, acidity of course and a decent finish. Highly Recommended.
According to The Modern History of Italian Wine (my current “bible” on the subject), Cusumano (founded in 2001) are one of the drivers of Italian wine in this century and “an extraordinary commercial success”. “There’s a piece of the land..in each of our labels”. Their other varietals (which include Nero D’Avola) may well be worth watching out for.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
A Trio of White Alternatives
Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine (AP) 2015, 12%, €15.65 Wines Direct
This fresh tasting Muscadet is a long way from the many cheap ones consumed on half-forgotten Breton holidays. It has been rasied sur lie, is organic, biodynamic (vegan friendly). The grape used by the way is not called Muscadet (as many of us holidaymakers then thought) but the local Melon de Bourgogne. It is light bodied, dry, with medium to high acidity and they recommend using it with mussels, oysters and herb omelette.
You’ll note light gold with tints of green in the glass, yeasty aromas, a tingly mouthfeel with lively citrus fruit; rather elegant - the time on lees has helped. All in all, a pleasurable renewal of acquaintance with a wine I once (maybe more than once) had more than enough of. Highly Recommended.
Great for fish and shellfish they say but why not try it my way - with trout (both tinned and fresh, not at the same time!) from the marvellous Goatsbridge Farm in Kilkenny.
La Fonte Vermentino di Terrabianca Tuscany (IGT) 2015, 12.5%, €16.15 Karwig Wines
This is another fresh and fruity wine, on a par for quality with the Muscadet. Colour is a very light straw and the aromas are on the slight side. After the lightness of the aromas, the palate is a surprise and a very pleasant one at that, a smooth feel and then those fresh and concentrated fruit flavours (grapefruit, lemon), excellent acidity and a long finish as well. Reminds me of a good quality Sauvignon. Highly Recommended.
Casa Maria Verdejo, Castilla Y Leon (VDT) 2014, 12.5%, €10.45 Le Caveau
Steely pale yellow is the producer’s apt description of the colour. Aromas too are rather muted, suggestions of apple. On the palate though, it has much more going for it, fresh and dry and zesty with green fruit flavours and a good finish.
Agricola Castellana is a long standing and important coop and this Recommended wine is very approachable and food friendly. Ideal with a salad of Goatsbridge Farm trout, other fresh fish, shellfish. Try it too as an aperitif with olives. Besides, it will do well too with spicy sauces.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
A COUPLE OF LIDL WHITES
Vermentino di Sardegna DOC 2010, 12%, €6.95 at Lidl.
Colour is a pale honey with an aromatic nose. There is an immediate high impact dry tingle on the palate but lively fruit there also, all leading to a rounded wine with a decent finish. Very good value indeed.
Vermentino, the grape, is grown all over the island of Sardinia. It is the same as the grape known as Rolle and grown widely in Provence where it is made into some lovely wines (eg Chateau Miraval). For more info on Vermentino in Sardinia click here.
Frascati Superiore Secco 2010, 12.5%, €5.95 at Lidl.
I wasn't as happy with the Frascati. Colour is very pale and it does have an aromatic nose. On the palate, citrus dominates and the refreshing hello fades under its domination. Just too much acidity.
Made with the traditional grapes of Trebbiani and Malvasia, Frascati is the wine of Rome and its tourists (picture). Perhaps there are better examples and you can find out more about the wines of Rome and Lazio (the area around it) here.