Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Italian whites tasting

Throughout the year, the Canberra District Vigneron's Association puts on tastings for members after meetings. Tonight the theme was Italian white wines, mainly from central and southern Italy. The dozen wines, served in two brackets of six wines, had been sourced by Alex McKay from Melbourne importer Enoteca Sileno. I'll write the wines up over the next couple of weeks, but a couple of initial notes:

- for me, trying to pick Italian white grape varieties in a blind tasting is well-nigh impossible. I did pick that the first bracket contained a vermentino and a falanghina, but not the wines I thought were these varieties
- the temptation to focus on fruit description before looking at texture, astringency/bitterness, skin contact, phenolics and oxidation can get these wines back to front
- three of the twelve wines, including the Benanti Pietramarina 2003 (made from carricante), were let down by cork
- lots of genuine interest across the wines, yet not things that would go well in the Australian wine show system (mercaptans and VA especially), which probably says more about the show focus than it does about overall wine quality.

The first wine, from the Marches, was a sparkler made from the Yellow Passerina grape. Not something I'd ever had before, but distinctly different from prosecco. Strawberries, lemon juice, a little cream. Mouthfilling bubbles, some creamy texture, white peach and a little musk show late, plus something a little like a skin contact, slightly herbal character. Not sweet, some lingering flavours but not a wine about piercing acid length. Would be interesting quaffing fizz, a little like prosecco or cava can be. Recommended. Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, Gaudio Magno, Offida Passerina, 2006 is the name to look out for.

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