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Intrepid Imbibing - July: Unusual Italian White Wines


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Howdy, Intrepid Imbibers! Did you enjoy your deeply-hued rosés from last month? I’m still dreaming about that Domaine Arretxea Iroulegy Rosé I chose (though I admit, I still don’t know how to pronounce their name! Arr-ET-x-ee-ah, ArrETCHya…?) Who cares, it was so good, I may have sworn off pale pale pink Provences forever.

 

For July, I still want to beat the heat, but also continue encouraging you to be adventurous, so this has led me to choose: Unusual Italian White Wines. More than any other country, Italy is home to a swatch of indigenous varieties, nearly unique to each region from top to toe. This month, skip the meh Pinot Grigios, and seek out something way more interesting.

Artistic picture of white wine grapes

Because they’re so numerous and varied, here’s a little primer on style so you can choose one in line with your preferences:

 

  • If you like fruit-forward, often minerally, mid-weight unoaked Chardonnays, try a Garganega (Soave,) Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, or Cortese (Gavi,) maybe even a Grechetto – sometimes that can masquerade as a rosé in flavor! (If you’re an ABC-er, you know, Anything But Chardonnay, these may actually really delight you.)

  • If you prefer zippy high-acid, fairly aromatic Sauvignon Blancs, opt for a Verdicchio, Carricante, Erbaluce, or Falanghina, they’re some of the zestiest, though with lots of different personalities.

  • Interested in moderate body, floral wines? I love an Arneis or Grillo, and Vermentino can get quite full bodied with quince notes too.

  • How about a bit lower acid, with a waxy rich feel: Vernaccia, Cataratto, or Timorasso (< I wrote about this super-cool, almost extinct wine HERE)

 

What I’M going to pop: Pecorino. Yeah, no, not the cheese, though it is kind of named for sheep! This grape from Abruzzo in central Italy can be made in a range of styles, but I like the ones with a little leesy heft; they are a bit more savory (and while not related to cheese, can often have a note that reminds me of parmesan rind!) And Pecorino often has lovely white flowers, peach, mandarin rind, and sometimes a tropical vibe for balance.

 

Now, some of the above might already be familiar to you, so don’t pick one of those, obviously! All of them vary in their aromatic intensity or neutrality, and acid, body, and alcohol levels, so it’s hard to generalize, but that’s part of the fun of exploring unusual white Italian grape varieties. Don’t hesitate to comment or message me about your choices, I’m always happy to help you fine-tune.


I can’t wait to see what you find! Happy Intrepid Imbibing…

 

Cheers.

 

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