Italian Countryside Picks for the Daily Slosh – White

15 Feb

My wife, Arlene, and I are heading to Italy this fall and  she loves whites and unfortunately gets headaches from reds. So, we need to focus on some of Italian whites before we go. If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that I don’t regularly recommend Italian whites. In fact, a few Soaves, a Grillo from Sicily, the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio, and a Vernaccio might be it. Well, we’re once again looking to a Vernaccio to bring us the feeling of the Italian countryside. When I have these style wines, I like bread, fresh tomatoes, and more of these style wines. They can be dangerous that way.

The 2011 Teruzzi & Puthod Vernaccio di San Gimignano (#316976 $15.95). What a fabulous name and it has great acid to go with Italian foods that aren’t too heavy, including solid sharp Italian cheeses. They can be rounder and more golden than other Italian whites. This kind of straddles the line between the uber crisp, pale Vernaccio and the round, oxidized variety. If you want more body – this will work for you. Pick this up and sample some olives, charcuterie and an old Sophia Loren movie. I really didn’t have to use the adjective old – kind of redundant – but she is THE VERY BEST of true movie stars.

SolandesThe requisite chardonnay is from Chile – the home of value wine. I’ve recommended the little sister of this wine for those that like a lighter (and cheaper) chardonnay, but Big Sis pulls out all the stops. The 2009 Sol de Andes Reserva Especial Chardonnay (#254326 $17.95). Now, I don’t mean that it’s Mer Soleil-ish, all buttery and creamy. But, it is surprisingly full-bodied and the mouthfeel would make an oak-a-file happy enough. I recently recommended a cream sauce lobster pasta with a chardonnay sort of like this and I see that Beppi Crosariol of the Globe and Mail recommends lobster in his assessment of this wine. I agree. I know many of you read Beppi’s wine reviews regularly in the Globe. Those of you that don’t should.

So, why do I frequently recommend Muscadet? Well, 1) it’s really, really lip smacking good; 2) it’s simple and uncluttered in a good way; 3) it goes with the type of foods that I like, such as shellfish, asparagus, and sushi; 4) it’s inexpensive; and maybe most importantly, 5) it’s favoured by Oliver and Joanne! I’ve recommended this same wine (different vintages) several times and you love it, you really love it. It’s pretty consistent vintage over vintage and provides excellent value. And, the part about being uncluttered and simple – this wine brings it up a notch – a little softness? I think so – 2011 Domaine de la Tourlaudiere Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie (#171694 $13.95).

Momo2Need a blast of freshness and “mouth-watering” acidity? Try the regularly schilled 2011 Momo Sauvignon Blanc (#009167 $17.95). This is a beauty of a SB due to its grassiness, I think. Kiwi SB’s can get all gooseberries, which you know I love and promote. But, this is simpler without giving up the attitude that we love. As always, serve these with something that has a punch too and maybe even a bite. Or, sip this with a good friend, or your sweetheart. It’s Valentine’s Day this week! Yeek! I almost forgot. Thanks for reminding me. I will have to crack a Mer Soleil. Heading to Total Wine as soon as we touch down in Naples.

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