With the change of season (always optimistic) around the corner, it's that time of year where gardens, patios, parks and anywhere that allows sunshine to beam in, are filled with smiling people with woollies shrugged off and sleeves rolled up. We spend most of the year waiting for this very window of sunny disposition, so it's critical we enjoy it to its fullest, and that means being prepared (cue wine!). I'm going to run through some of our best-selling and uniquely individual white wines that will be sure to keep the thirst quenched and the party spirit flowing.
Firstly, Langhe Arneis, a wonderfully 'under the radar' white wine from Piedmont, north-west Italy bordering France, an area that's more synonymous with the likes of Barolo and Barbaresco. The Arneis grape has risen from relative obscurity to become what some winemakers consider to be the most interesting white wine grape in Piedmont. Back in the 1970's, Arneis was actually used as a decoy to keep the birds and bees away from the prized Nebbiolo grapes. Now, with over 2000 acres of planting around Langhe and Roero, this grape gives off beautiful scents of white grapefruit, mango and sour apple, mingling with those of white flowers. For the adventure seeker who takes the long way round in the hope of discovering something new, this is for you! A thrill of a wine that seeks to be found, and more importantly, enjoyed for all of its uniqueness and exoticness.
For our next wines, we're headed to the north-eastern part of Italy, wherein lies the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and which has a particularly international wine scene. It's widely agreed that Friuli’s winemakers set the modern standard for making white wine in Italy. How? With the introduction of stainless steel tanks and the temperature control it permitted, everything changed, bringing about a new style of wines designed to preserve the pure flavour of the grapes. The prototype was, and still is, a crisp bright wine with pure varietal character. Let's talk about 2 white grape varieties that are indigenous to this region:
Friulano - The region’s signature contributor to the world of white wine; Italy’s answer to Tocai, a typically full-bodied wine, fruity and aromatic aromas. This wine is perfect for combating salty and fatty meats such as gammon and Parma ham. The sweet and salty ham is matched by the fruity and minerally wine, the fattiness of the ham checked by the wine’s brisk acidity. This is an award-winning wine, collecting bronze at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Ribolla Gialla - This wine, literally meaning yellow ribbon, is currently in vogue in Italy; I mean, it's being poured in virtually every Trattoria and Osteria even outside of north-east Italy which, by Italian standards, speaks volumes about its popularity and demand. It pairs extremely well with oysters and grilled fish on account of its floral aromas and lovely citrus palate which is rounded off by a lingering and refreshing acidity. Also, a great lunchtime wine with its lower than average alcohol content of 12.5%. That reminds me....
Very enthusiastic wine lover who loves a party!