And now for some whites: the third instalment of what wowed us at Decanter’s recent Italian wine tasting.
Friuli, in the north east of Italy, is home to zingy and expressive whites, in particular (although there are some delicious reds). Go and hunt out some Pinot Grigio from this region, you’ll be amazed. Livio Felluga is one of our favourite producers.
This was one of Mr Husband’s top white wines of the day! Full flavoured and slightly aromatic, citrus, orchard fruit and slightly honeyed white stone fruits, with excellent minerality.
Lovely, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc – concentrated, grapefruit zest, delicate herbs (lemon balm maybe?) and nettles.
Aperitif sprung to mind as soon as we tasted this but it would work brilliantly with lighter, summery food too as there is a lot happening here! Friuli, Friulano’s spiritual home, can produce multi-faceted, complex and mineral-rich wines given the mishmash of mountain ranges, rivers, soils and the influence of the Adriatic and this wine really demonstrates it. There’s a citrusy, aromatic backbone, but also hints of creamy honeysuckle, herbs and a fresh minerality.
Heading west from Friuli, Alto Adige is the region at the top of central Italy and is also renowned for doing wonderful things with Pinot Grigio and balancing out Sauvignon Blanc’s green flavours. There is a strong Germanic/Austrian influence here whereas Friuli is more Slavic.
I’m ashamed to admit we’d not actually heard of Cantina Valle Isarco prior but we will be seeking out their wonderful wines here in London.
The best Sylvaner I’ve had! Racy and fresh, a bit zesty, a bit peachy and really well balanced in terms of acidity versus fruit.
This was possibly my top white wine of the day – ok, in the top two! Apart from the novelty factor of tasting Kerner – a Riesling x Schiava cross – this relatively full bodied and structured white was rich and floral, but beautifully balanced with zippy acidity and a lovely minerality.
By the way, in case you are wondering about the other contender for my top white, it was Isole e Olena’s Chardonnay 2014 which we didn’t taste when we visited them last year. My tasting note at Decanter’s event, accompanied by a smudge of red wine, just says “gorgeous, delicate, savoury, amazing!” Clearly lots of enthusiasm but not very objective (it was late in the day by then).
A characterful GV! It’s refreshing – think green apples – and quite refined as one would expect with Gruner Veltiner but has undertones of hay, fresh alpine flowers and a touch a white pepper and savoury herbs.
I tend to get more rose water with the relatively delicate Gewürztraminers from Alto Adige as opposed to the orange blossom I associate with the often more opulent Gewürzt from Alsace. This one was no exception – there’s a little bit of that archetypal lychee too – but with a slight spritz which emphasises the clean, fresh finish.