08/26/09 – intriguing Italian whites

By Jesse on August 21, 2009

There’s a reason we’re revisiting this theme from last year. In this week’s “Wines of the Times” column, Eric Asimov goes to bat for Italian whites in an effort to “silence the snickers” that are sometimes heard when discussing the merits of Italian whites. There’s an unfortunate perception among some wine lovers that Italy’s only good for reds, and that the whites are all easy-drinking and forgettable. Not true! Don’t believe me, however — just ask Eric Asimov: “Italian white wines, including pinot grigios, are no longer to be sneered at.” Boo-yah.

The column, which you can read here, concerns itself mostly with Vermentino, a white grape grown in many parts of Italy (as well as in France and California, it seems). Read the article and see if you can find a Vermentino style that’s right for you, then ask your friendly wine merchant for help picking one out.

Or, if you’d like to try a different intriguing Italian white, you can revisit some of the options from last time:

Pinot Bianco and Traminer have both been tasty in past meetings, as has Arneis from the Piedmont region.
–Wine Enthusiast ran an article last year entitled “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 past episodes in which he tastes Vernaccia, Gavi, and Tocai Friulano respectively.

If you’re a huge Pinot Grigio fan, 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.

We’ll be meeting at Wino HQ in Sherman Oaks. The RSVP system functions like this: if you’d like to attend, you click on this link and tell me so. Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, go out and find yourself a bottle of intriguing Italian white — or simply bring a $10 donation, if you prefer. We’ll see you on Wednesday night!