White wines coming out of northern Italy today seem to be falling into three major categories — pinot grigios, sparkling wines, and increasingly, moscatos. There are no moscatos in this group, but we do have a couple of wines from another growing category that you may want to give some attention.
Those are garganega-based wines from the regions around Verona. That includes wines labeled Soave, which utilizes garganega among other white grapes, but increasingly they are IGT wines, shorthand for wines that purposefully don’t conform to the rules of the appellation. As garganega is a well-respected grape when grown correctly, expect to see that name more on front and back labels.
Glasses at the ready?
2011 Sartori "Ferdi" bianco Veronese IGT ($16):
My Pick of the Litter: What a delicious wine with which to start a tasting. This one is all garganega, has lots of minerality, a lovely golden, lightly floral fruitiness and finishes firm and lean with refreshing notes of bitters around the edges.
2012 Sant’Antonio "Scaia" Veneto IGT garganega/chardonnay ($11):
Another very interesting wine, this one blends the traditional Veronese grape with the international chardonnay. The impression is that of a very fragrant sauvignon blanc — juicy, with great flavors of orange, mango and very ripe pineapples followed by some wood-like notes at the end.
2012 Da Luca delle Venezie pinot grigio ($11):
There are some nice pinot herbal flavors, but overall the wine is a little sweet and fat — a one-glass maximum.
2011 Banfi "San Angelo" Toscano pinot grigio ($16):
The emphasis is on the wine’s peachy fruitiness, but it comes across a bit flabby in structure.
NV Da Luca Veneto prosecco extra dry ($13):
This bubbly has some plus and minus notes. It doesn’t have a lot of finesse — it’s a little heavy and a little grapey — but it does have nice yeasty notes and a satisfying, rich finish. (Extra dry means a hint of sweetness).
NV Stlto prosecco extra dry ($13):
Fruity yet refreshing, with very good flavors of tart fruit skins — apricot, peach, apple — and a lingering aftertaste of floral creaminess. It would be great with a flaky cream or fruit tart.
NV Bellenda Italian sparkling rosé brut ($15):
OK, it’s not technically a white wine, but we’ll adopt it for purposes of convenience. And it’s a good addition. Pretty salmon colors and lots of creaminess make for an easy-drinking wine with tart apricot flavors, good minerality and a hint of earthiness.
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