Unusual Italian Wines
Rowena Hawtin recommends some unusual Italian wines
I’ve been out and about this week at wine tastings and restaurants in Kent and tasted some delicious Italian wines – especially some unusual white wines that some of you may not have heard of…
Falanghina 2016, Terredora
Mainly grown in the Campania region of Southern Italy – it’s one of Italy’s great unsung grape varieties. Mostly grown on the coast which creates a refreshing citrusy flavour, it has faint notes of apple and quince with just a touch of nuttiness. Of course, in Capri, it’s a wine to be sipped along with a classic Caprese salad of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. But actually, it’s very versatile and will go with a wide range of foods such as roasted vegetables, seafood and poultry. This one came from Majestic at a modest £9.99.
Pietrariccia Fiano 2016 Surani Fiano
Again mainly grown in Campania with a flavour reminiscent of pine nuts and shows its best in the densely wooded hills of Avellino where the vineyards reach altitudes of 1800ft and higher. This has the effect of slowing down the ripening of the grape and maintaining that lovely fresh acidity. This is an excellent version with a mixture of citrus and tropical fruit with floral hints, round and full-bodied on the palate and great accompaniment to anchovies or a light salad. Fiano di Avellino is less full-bodied, but is very aromatic with aromas of white peach, grapefruit, sage and mint and is available from Waitrose – around £13 a bottle.
Traminer DOC 2015 Fruili Brandolini
Very closely related to the delicious, spicy Gewurztraminer, Traminer is in fact the forerunner and originated in the South Tyrol, or the Alto Adige area of North East Italy. I had this the other day in an Italian restaurant as it’s quite unusual to see this version and I wasn’t disappointed. Crisp and aromatic, its very similar to Gewurztraminer as its smooth and velvety with aromas of lychees, peach and hints of citrus and wild herbs. Not as rich and full bodied as the Alsatian Gewurz, but every bit as delicious. I had this with chicken with a lovely tomato and cheese sauce and the typical Italian flavours complemented this wine perfectly and the slightly crisper version was a better partner for this rich meal. Traminer is not so widely available but Enotria specialise in Italian wine and offer an online service. Follow them on twitter @EnotriaCoe if you love Italian wine and want something a little different.
Manfredi Cantine Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC, Piedmont, 2015
Nebbiolo the great grape of Barolo, also makes full-bodied less expensive wine in the Piedmont area of Northern Italy and really captures the character of the Barolo grape. Typically, an orangey, rusty colour, it has aromas of rose and violets giving way to robust flavours of cherries and firm tannins. This wine would pair well with ribeye steak, beef tenderloin, roasted vegetables, wild mushrooms, truffles and a number of cheeses such as Manchego, Feta and Parmigiano Reggiano. Wine Society £9.50.
If you would like to learn more about wine or try some of the above, I’d be very happy to talk to you further. Please contact me through my website www.discoverthevine.co.uk