For years, Italian red wines over-shadowed the whites, often with good reason. That is no longer the case. Today, the Italian import market is full of enjoyable, well-made whites at all price levels made from a couple of dozen indigenous grape varieties. This edition of The Dozen features several of them, mainly from northern Italy.
But also to be noted are two reds and a white blend from the excellent Ventoux/Vaucluse producer, Chêne Bleu, as well as an entry-level red from Portugal and a couple of interesting Chilean wines from the Limari Valley.
2021 Garofoli “Supèra” Verdicchio di Matelica ($16). Lots of green fruitiness, somewhat lean but with a very supple framework.
2021 La Valentina Colline Pescaresi Pecorino ($18). Very nice juicy and spicy flavors without being sweet – apples, fleshy plums, a little ginger.
2021 Surrau “Branu” Vermentino di Gallura ($20). Enticing, somewhat rustic green fruits with enough spritz and acidity to allow them to be paired with fuller-bodied foods.
2020 Concha y Toro “Marques de Casa Concha” Valle del Limari Chardonnay ($21). Very fruity, a little grapey, and fruity sweet.
2020 Alois Lageder “Versalto” Dolomiti Pinot Bianco ($28). Enjoyable, tangy, but full-bodied fruit with lots of citrus, some tannins, and good minerality.
2020 Inama “Carbonare” Soave Classico ($30). Very juicy and fruit-forward – citrus and other tropical flavors – with an enjoyable metallic minerality.
2021 Marco Felluga “Russiz Superiore” Collio Sauvignon ($31). Lovely floral aromas and fruitiness – mainly ripe apple, pear, and quince – with good acidity and fruit-peel-tasting tannins.
2017 Chêne Bleu “Aliot” Vaucluse Blanc ($58). This is an enchanting blend – mainly Roussanne and Grenache Blanc – with lots of lush tropical fruitiness, yet spicy and well-structured.
2020 Sogrape “Silk & Spice” Portugal Red Blend ($12). A barbecue wine – lightly sweet, lightly spicy with good savory accents and lots of dusty tannins.
2019 Concha y Toro “Marques de Casa Concha” Valle del Limari Pinot Noir ($21). An enjoyable, light-bodied, fresh-fruity Pinot with cherry and cola flavors, a lean finish, and lots of food friendliness.
2014 Chêne Bleu “Abélard” Ventoux Rouge ($90). Juicy, slightly tangy red and black fruits with a long finish that is tight and leathery with oak notes and rich tannins.
2014 Chêne Bleu “Héloïse” Vaucluse Rouge ($90). Brooding flavors of red and purple fruits, such as plums and dark cherries, with earthy, savory notes and mild tannins.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
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