09/17/08 – intriguing Italian whites

By Jesse on September 15, 2008


Earlier tonight, when I was trying to figure out what might make a good weekly topic for a white wine meeting at Leah’s place, I decided to seek out some inspiration from my favorite newspaper, the Calgary Herald (which I read in its entirety every single day).  As fate would have it, they just happened to be running a piece called Italian bargains can still be found.  Unfortunately, the article dealt mainly with red wines, but the “Italian bargains” thing still remained appealing to me.  A few hours later, while wandering around in the LA River, I had an epiphany: take the bargain Italian theme and apply it to white wines instead!  And thus a meeting was born.

I added the “intriguing” part because I want to dissuade people from bringing bottles without making any effort to find something worthwhile.  The aisles of your local grocery store will likely offer up a small bounty of bargain Italian bottles, but their intrigue level may not quite be up to Wino standards.  Try to make it to your favorite wine shop and pick out something trippy and bizarre — or at least beguiling.  Ideally, you’ll be able to find a “bargain” bottle for south of $20.  Here are a few suggestions:

–Previous weekly meetings have offered up some good possibilities, especially the Tre Venezie meeting of two and a half years ago, where we discovered Pinot Bianco and Traminer.  Or seek out an Arneis, which we got into at our Piedmont tasting.
Wine Enthusiast has an article in this month’s issue called “The Bottom of the Boot,” all about Southern Italy and the crazy, backwards things they’re doing down there.  Try a Greco Bianco from Calabria, or a Falanghina or Fiano from Campania.
–Gary Vaynerchuk loves his Italian whites.  Watch one of the recent episodes in which he tastes Vernaccia, Gavi, and Tocai Friulano respectively.
–And, if rumors are to be believed, they LOVE Italian wine over at K&L Wine Merchants.  Check out this page to find an interesting one.

If you’re a huge Pinot Grigio fan (maybe following our “wines that nobody likes” meeting), you can bring one of those.  Just make sure it’s an extremely interesting bottle, and be prepared to explain why you picked it out when there are soooooo many other nutty Italian whites demanding your attention.

Due to popular demand, we’re returning to Santa Monica this week, where we’ll be welcomed by Leah and her Diphenhydramine-friendly cat.  The RSVP system functions like this: if you want in, you send me an e-mail the same day you received this one.  Spots are assigned based on a complex algorithm which gives priority to long-term members but also reserves seats at each and every meeting for new people.  If you’re denied entry due to a meeting exceeding capacity, don’t worry — you’ll be at the top of the list the next week.  We try to keep everyone satisfied, and we think we do a pretty good job.

Once you’ve received your confirmation e-mail, go seek out that elusive bottle of ridiculous and inexpensive Italian white.  Or, as always, feel free to just bring a ten-spot.  We’ll see you on Wednesday night at 9:00!