Saturday, 10 March 2012

Italian wines

For most of my blogs I have been talking about the French and so I thought as I am visiting the country at the moment that it was time to give the spotlight to Italy and the credit it deserves.

The third biggest producer in volume according to the latest statistics, has such a large display of absolute sumptuous and amazing wines. So for the last couple of months I have been back and forward and delved my curiosity deep and discovered the wines of this beautiful and fascinating country.

I stayed in the region of Umbria, at Palazzo Terranova a five star luxury country Palace. It is open for all but only when you hire out the whole palazzo, so for a special couple of days or a weekend, an experience you will never forget. Its pure magic, class and truly unique.

So Umbria is not that well known for its wines, as they have the great Tuscan as a neighbor. It feels a bit left in the shadow, but i have had the pleasure to taste a couple good to very good wines from this region.

The first vineyard that has to be mentioned belongs to the great Antinori family, steeped in history of great wine makers, respecting the identity of the terroir, the qualities, character and personality the region expresses.

Castello della Sala which produces only white wines.

The two wines I like to talk about are the Bramito, which is 100% Chardonnay and the Cervaro which is predominately Chardonnay with a little bit of Grechetto.

Now Grechetto is an indigenous grape from Italy, planted in central Italy and a little bit in the south but predominately in Umbria. Its characters are fresh and crispy fruits, hints of white flowers, a grape holding simplicity in one hand and bursting character in the other. It is not necessarily a grape that has the likes and success of the Chardonnay, Sauvingnon Blanc or Riesling...., but it produces very interesting results. To sum up, Grechetto is dry, fruity, crisp and fresh.

Bramito from Castello della Sala is produced out of 100% Chardonnay, oak is in play so expect something quiet round and slightly oily.The fruits are ripe and full of flavor. The nose and on the eye seduces you with freshness which indicate a good acidity might be present. It follows straight with intense well balanced white fruits, from apples, pears, melons and little hints of peaches. A flurry of white flowers and herbs giving their scent behind the layers of fruit indicating a well balanced and constructed wine. There are spices and hints of vanilla as well, in all a wine with complexity. The palate overwhelms you with roundness and richness of fruits, spice and oak. The acidity is very well balanced and the longevity of the flavors, seduces you with great admiration. In all for me one of the great white wine houses Italy has to showcase. Fleshy fishes and white meats like veal, pork or chicken could work very well with this wine.

The Cervaro from the same house has a little bit of Grechetto blended with Chardonnay, but hold your breath when tasting this wine.
Remarkably it brings amazing results, here again oak matured, with this tiny percentage of Grechetto, it gives this wine a zest and energy, vibrancy and seduction not at all expected.

On the the nose that invasion of fresh crisp green apples, matured pears as a second layer with more deep ripe and matured white fleshy fruits as a third arrival, gives this wine the attention every one longs for.
Than when you think you had it all the spices, tiny hints of vanilla and cinnamon.

A real warm and just balanced wine, which will confirm on the palate. It will wake up and play with your taste butts and imagination.
The remarkable outcome is this longevity and freshness which will make sure that you will not stop at the first sip.
Yes, fish dishes even grilled fish will work, risotto with truffles and pasta dishes with creamy sauces will suits this wine.

Castello della Sala, truly a wine house every one loving Italian wines should try out and discover. I had great pleasure drinking it with a whole bunch of Italian friends and amazingly a perfect companion for an evening.

More Italians to come this time reds of course, but for now please drink responsibly and enjoy discovering.

till next time