Unsung Heros - Italian Whites
Scratching the surface of all that Italy has to offer
The Last Three
Sometimes one ends up with bottles of wine that don’t really fit anywhere in particular, so a catchy title like The Last Three seems like the perfect catch all ending to today’s work. In fact the wines showcased here are perfect to help illustrate my point. Italy is a big country when it comes to the sheer number of wines produced and one can find interesting wines from the North to the very South of the country.
These three wines share nothing but their Italian-ness, which noting the origins of two of the wines might well be characterized as nominal at best. None the less that is the way we group these wines together. If they’re not Pinot Grigio then they’re some other Italian white. There are so many other Italian whites out there that this phrase is remarkably meaningless. My advice to you is to go buy something from Italy that you are not familiar with and taste it. Then instead of it being some other Italian white wine you can talk about these less well known and often obscure varieties as being floral or spicy, fruity or mineral, and not simply Italian. You’ll broaden your horizons and learn some things about wine, and no doubt about your own palate as well and that my friends is one of the greatest things wines can do for us, besides that lovely sweet buzz of course. Wine keeps teaching us. Teaching us about itself, ourselves and all whom we share wine with.
Finely floral on the nose with a gentle underlay of grassy, herbal tones, a hint of spice and some peach and lemon aromas. Somewhat rich on entry, this quickly gains focus in the mouth as it delivers fairly straightforward flavors of minty toned melon with a touch of a honied quality. Rather large scaled and rich in the mouth, this ends with some dusty astringency and hints of bitter almonds on the rich, powerful finish. A distinct and assertive wine that demands food, and the drinker’s attention, though this is not going to have a broad base. 87pts
Quite assertively perfumed, this is bursting with notes of beeswax, amaretti, smoke, bitter orange rind, rosemary and toasty fennel seeds.Rich and rather broad in the mouth, though not lacking acidity, this lacks a bit of vibrancy on the palate as it delivers rather mineral spiked flavors of bitter melon fruit. This is a rather powerful and assertive wine that needs food but has a rather distinct and unusual character. The finish slowly takes on a rather interesting if unusual amaro like bitterness. I do continue to return to this glass. 88pts
This is 100% Fiano and a fitting wine to end with since along with Soave I consider Fiano to be among the finest white wines of Italy. This vintage of Kratos continues a long string of fine showings from Maffini. Rich with citrus, white pepper and dried floral aromas that are rather high toned and well defined. In the mouth this starts out as somewhat deceptively loose and subtle though air brings out some attractive almost tropical fruit base notes over which are layered classic mineral and spice accents. This is a fairly large framed Fiano that should be a lovely change of pace for many Chardonnay drinkers. 89pts