22 June, 2013

Italy, and WHITE, for the HOT, DOG Days of Summer.


It's been warm here in Sonoma County. A couple of weeks ago it reached 102F. So, while the west has been warm and it's surely moving to other parts of the country, we decided to break out a few whites from Europe where it's been much more temperate.

The 2011 Esperto (Expert in Italian) Pinot Grigio is presented in screw top, as many in this price point, but it also has a little bit extra in the way of a Robert Rauschenberg print on the label.

This wine is from the IGT delle Venezie in the DOC Veneto. As many of you know, I'm not a big fan

of Pinot Grigio, not in that I don't enjoy the varietal, but that what gets imported, or really, EXPORTED is tailored for a palate that's just not mine. Too often, whispy, simple, fruity wines are assembled for the US market. Shame. It can be a great variety.

The Esperto P. Grigio brings something that's much closer to Italy and much further from the US market with it's hints of honeysuckle and Meyer lemon on the nose, but with more acid and "shoulders" than one would typically see at this price point.

Open one with some Oysters on the half shell, a turkey burger on the grill in the heat of the afternoon or a nice SF style Cioppino on a foggy nite in the city.

2011 Esperto Artist Collection Pinot Grigio
Retail: $10
Grade: B-
ABV: 12%

Note: This wine was provided at no cost as a sample.


Trebbiano is unremarkable.

It's the 2nd most widely planted grape. Everywhere. Period. It presents good yields, so vineyard managers and business people like it. It can be fruity, monochromatic...and in a word, boring...


Abruzzo is a pretty awesome place. It's in the mountains of Central Italy and leads down to the East coast where it meets the Adriatic Sea and it's often referred to as Italy's rocky heart. It's got 2 interesting climates: The mountains and the coast and Chiusa Grande is located in Nocciano and is at about 1000' in elevation. Interestingly, it's halfway between the coast and the mountains.

Chiusa Grande is the producer of the 2012 Treebbiano d'Abruzzo. It's made with certified Organic Grapes that are grown in the near mountainous region.

If you search around the inter-face-webs, you'll find plenty of reviews of reviews and opinions of this
wine as it's widely available and certainly not remotely allocated, but it's not produced by a mega-winery, either. While others have called this wine simplistic, watery and even insipid, I find this vintage quite pleasant. It's not a crazy, interesting, geek out wine by any means, but it's quite a bit more interesting than I think others give it credit, especially at this price point. It enjoys a very high QPR.

Enjoyable aromas of light citrus, especially lemon, together with a mineral driven mid palate led to a satisfying pairing with swordfish and curried brown rice. Also interesting would be Southeast Asian red curry dishes and mediterranean mezzes.

2012 Chiusa Grande Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
Retail: $6
Grade: B
ABV: 12%

As a note, both of these wines are listed at 12% ABV, a typical level in many European made wines.