In a ten day span beginning last Thursday July 31st, we will have tasted a dozen white wines here at the store between our Thursday night class and the Friday weekly event. That's a lot of tasting. Let's sort them out by grape type, starting with the really light dry ones.
Masciarelli Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
The prolific Trebbiano vine is not especially obscure, it's just not really well known by name. In France it is called Ugni Blanc and is primarily distilled into brandy. In other venues it is really just filler in a given region's standard white blend, consequently when tastes change and another variety rises in popularity, Trebbiano often is the vine to be uprooted in favor of the newest fave.
The name Trebbiano comes from the root, trebula, which means cottage, leading one to believe the vineyards in earlier times were a "cottage" industry, which would explain why there are a hundred different names across Europe for Trebbiano. Also if you think of Italians the way I do, that so many of them seem so similar, fully a third of Italian white wines share common DNA with Trebbiano. In short, Trebbiano is a blue collar grape that has its best example in Umbrian Orvieto but also does quite well in Abruzzo.
Domaine de la Vinconniere Muscadet
The grape type here is Melon de Bourgogne and like Trebbiano it's a volume producer. Muscadet is sourced from four districts just south of Nantes at the Loire River estuary fifty-five miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean in northern France. It is the largest volume wine from the vast Loire region. Muscadet is an acidic white wine made from grapes grown in chalky soils which are not harvested until fully ripe and even then don't yield a very flavorful wine. The wine is a minerally apple/citrus slightly salinated shellfish wine which acquires some creaminess from its "sur lie" winemaking process.
Nardone Falanghina and Greco
Falanghina and Greco are related grapes from ancient origins. Both of these light dry whites show their best in the Mediterranean climate of coastal Campania, Italy. Falanghina features citrus blossom aromas and apple/pear on the palate with notes of spicy minerality. Greco (Greek) is somewhat darker in color with peach and green foliage aromas. Very similar in flavor to Falanghina, Greco is the later maturing grape making it slightly rounder in body and flavor in the mouth. Both wines are originally Greek in origin and, of course, love seafood.
Terra d'Alter Alvarinho
Alvarinho is the Portuguese version of Albarino, arguably the finest white wine of Spain. This light dry white is also seafood wine like those above but this time its more substantial body pairs better with the seafood soups and stews of the region. Like Muscadet, Alvarinho is acidic with clean rich ripe fruit flavors which may include peach, apricot, lemon, lychee, passion fruit, and orange blossom and zest. Styles and consequent complexity vary widely with this wine. It may be made in steel tanks with carbon dioxide for a light slightly bubbly style or in oak for a heavier style.
Please join us on Thursday at 7pm for our Wine 101 class on Argentine wines. Then come back on Friday after 5pm for Taylor Moore of Eagle Rock as he presents Falanghina and Greco amongst other new Italians in the Atlanta market. On Friday August 8th Dave Klepinger of Noreast Sales presents new California wines for our consideration.
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