In this week’s post for The Noble Writ over on the Riverfront Times website, I dipped a toe into one of my favorite areas of the wine world right now – white wines from Italy. I’m personally stunned and fascinated by the sheer diversity of wine in Italy. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine (2d Ed.) there are some 2000 native grapes in Italy being made into wine. A lot of folks don’t want to venture beyond what they “know” they like, but I want to taste each and every last one of those 2000!
I have a well-developed love for the underdog grape – Gamay, Romorantin, Grüner Veltliner, Côt – my cellar is full of them. With the exception of Pinot Noir, even the “popular” varieties that dominate my cellar fall outside the norm – Loire Cabernet Franc, German and Austrian Riesling, Chenin Blanc. Whether it’s my palate, or just a subconscious obtuseness, I’m not sure.
I’m definitely still in an exploratory phase with Italian whites though. Italy is the big uncharted wine territory for me. I’ve made some serious efforts with the Nebbiolo-based wines from Piedmont, and Sangiovese-dominant ones from Tuscany, but other than that it’s been a decidedly fun, but unscientific approach. I’ll cover some areas I’ve hit harder in future Noble Writ pieces, but I just couldn’t resist sharing the unbridled joy of randomly pulling a $10 bottle made from some grape you’ve never heard of off the shelf, and having it really hit the spot.