Monday, December 12, 2011

I like poetic, obscure Italian wines


2010 Ulisse Unico Pecorino | IGT Terre di Chieti

We don't ask for our wines to be grand all the time. Just interesting. But I was in the mood for something just a bit more - more challenging, more thoughtful. I've upped the number of Italian wines drunk the past 12 months or so. Whenever I'm looking for something to get my head spinning, yet staying within budget . . . Italian whites seem like a good choice. Just please stay away from the pinot grigio. Oh God, stay away from pinot grigio. It's wine for the slobs who think they know wine. Or for the louts who think sounding Italian makes them more cosmopolitan - but really, how hard is it to say pi-not gri-gi-o??!!

Pecorino, always a bit of a trip. Traditionally, Italian whites never have much fruit. Acid and all that other funky rustic stuff. Incredibly nutty, in both aroma and palate, but that wasn't even its defining character. Starting with some citrus, floral notes, with an incredibly viscous, silky texture. Ends like peanuts and herbs. After 24 hours, becomes minty, greenish - fruit all but disappears. Slight impression of sweetness in the mouth, transitioning into something completely different. Then, after dinner, turns smokey, almost savoury . . . are we still drinking a white wine? Amazing, with so much extracted acidity, good length.

I can't remember the last wine I've drank that changed so much over 2 days, with air. Amazing. Just keeps transforming and developing, becoming more interesting, more complex. And all it is is a fucking country wine!?


2009 Grotta del Sole Falanghina | DOC Campi Flegrei

We continue with a falanghina. Fresh, ripe citrus, even some honey. Minerals. Focused on the palate, linear . . . seems weightless. And proves why these whites are so interesting. Starts one way, and suddenly shows a completely different character. You think it's just going to be simple, some fruit, high acid; then you get an amazing texture, amazing development in the glass. A good find.


2009 Manimurci Lacryma Christi | DOC Vesuvio Rosso | Campania

A Lacryma Christi wine to end off the night. There's so many versions of the story behind the name - who knows which one to follow. One about Christ tearing up about Lucifer, others about blessing Vesuvio. Whatever. The wine may be old and have prominence in Roman history, but it never was, and never will be particularly heart-thumping. Dark, slightly macerated fruit, almost herbal. Structured, grainy tannins. Some sweetness, well made - but as I'm discovering more and more, just not as exciting as the whites.

Something to say, some kind of purpose, some meaning behind it all. That's what we really want. There's lots of good wine, just like there's lots of good food and other shit. But interesting, exciting, with a story to tell? That's what we all need to be drinking/eating/talking more about.


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