Best Values of the Year – Italian Whites

December 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm 5 comments

As we head into the final few weeks of 2010, it’s time to look back on some of the more memorable wines of the year. I’ll list some of my top choices over the next few weeks, but for now, I’m focusing on the best values. This post is about Italian white wines, while the next will be on the reds:

2009 MASTROBERARDINO LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO BIANCO

There is so much excitement about the white wines of Campania these days, given the wonderful bottlings of Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino and Falanghina that are being produced in regular numbers. But don’t forget about the humble Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, a popular wine served in many trattorie in Napoli. Produced entirely from the Coda di Volpe grape, this has gorgeous perfumes of lilacs, quince and Bosc pear, offers good depth of fruit and glides across the palate. Aged only in stainless steel, this would be an ideal partner for shrimp, clams or just about any shellfish – I love it with seafood pasta as well. This 2009 bottling (a wonderful vintage) from this iconic Campanian producer is a standout for its suggested $18-$20 price tag.

2009 BASTIANICH “ADRIATICO” FRIULANO

I just posted on the Adriatico project from Joseph Bastianich, a selection of three whites from areas near the Adriatic Sea. Each of the wines is notable, but it is the 2009 Friulano (DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli) that is the most complete and complex. This is a delicious white with notes of Anjou pear, mango and cinnamon that has remarkable richness and complexity for $15. This is an outstanding value!

2009 GRADIS’CIUTTA BRATINIS (DOC Collio Bianco)

I featured this wine in a post last month and raved about the quality as well as the price tag. Robert Princic manages this estate in San Floriano del Collio, which has rapidly emerged as one of Friuli’s finest. This blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Ribolla Gialla offers gorgeous aromatics, impressive concentration, vibrant acidity and a distinct streak of minerality and should drink well for another 2-3 years (perhaps longer). Not bad for a wine that retails for $20!

2009 COFFELE SOAVE CLASSICO “CA’ VISCO”

This family estate has released one of its finest bottlings in recent years with the 2009 Ca’ Visco. Produced from 80% Garganega and 20% Trebbiano di Soave, the grapes are sourced from the family hillside estate in Castelcerino in the heart of the Classico zone. Medium-bodied with excellent complexity and light minerality, this is ideal with vegetable or seafood risotto or lighter white meats. ($17)

2009 FRATELLI GIACOSA ROERO ARNEIS

I featured this wine in a post on my other blog back in August. This is a typically fresh, no-oak version of Arneis with textbook pine and pear aromas and a rich, refreshing finish. Perfect with risotto or lighter poultry dishes or just by itself over the next 1-2 years. Arneis has become very popular over the past decade, driving prices up slightly, so the $17 price tag here is quite welcome.

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Adriatic Pleasures Best Values of the Year – Italian Reds

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. paola  |  December 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    peccato che chi ha scritto il testo non sia di madre lingua!!

    Reply
    • 2. tom hyland  |  December 10, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      Paola:

      Prossima volta!

      Reply
  • 3. stevenwashuta  |  December 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve had a Lacrima before from a region I can’t think of off the top of my head – is this related to Lacryma Christi? I thought it meant “tears of Christ” but have never heard of the grape Coda di Volpe – I thought Lacrima was the grape. I’m glad to have discovered this blog – Italian wine is something I’m trying to learn more about.

    Reply
    • 4. tom hyland  |  December 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      You are correct about the meaning of the name. The grape for this wine is primarily Coda di Volpe, though other grapes can also be used. Coda di Volpe is sometimes also used as a blending variety in Greco di Tufo, another excellent Campanian white.

      There is a red wine in Marche made from a grape called Lacrima. The wine is Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. This is an entirely different variety. Perhaps this is what you tried previously?

      Reply
      • 5. stevenwashuta  |  December 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm

        yes, you’re right. I realized after posting that the wine you’re referring to is white while I had had the red Lacrima, which I’ve found to be stunning. I’ll look for the Lacryma – thanks for the reply.

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