2010 Terredora Loggia Della Serra | DOCG Greco di Tufo
2011 Michele Chiarlo Le Marne | DOCG Gavi
Yes, so we're going to be actively searching for unfamiliar wines to be tasting (and learning about) right? Right. Like many others, my first experience with Italian whites was pinot grigio. The sort of wine for people who drink wine to look good. I've been hearing a lot about how there are a growing number of producers who are taking pinot grigio to the next level, but unfortunately, we seldom see good examples (in Ontario at least). Glorified dishwater is all it is, most of what we see here. Santa Margherita for fuck's sake.
But moving on; obscure Italian whites are kind of my thing now. Completely original, one-off wines that are unlike any other white wines in the world. You get a great sense of tradition with these bottles: the grecos, the pecorinos, the falanghinas, the corteses. Yet in the same sniff of the glass, there's a sense of modernity; the wines have a story to tell, and belong on the world stage. They have a terroir profile that is unlike anything else, with an elegance and drinkability that makes them brilliant on the dinner table. And we add two more examples here. The Greco di Tufo, lots of herbal, vegetal aromas, with subtle citrus fruit behind it all. And one of my favourite Italian producers, Michele Chiarlo, with a winner of a wine that in my opinion, matches favourably against any white Burgundy twice as expensive. From Gavi in Piedmont, the cortese grape makes wines of fabulous elegance and depth - just a wine that glides on your palate, with layers and layers of complexity.
Modernity can be such a tricky balance, but the more of these Italian country wines I drink, the more I'm excited for the (Italian white) category as a whole. Moving forward, without forgetting where you came from. Fresh, vibrant, balanced, and utterly unique . . . that's what I would call a great wine.