Yes, Virginia, Italy Makes White Wines Too
Most of us think of Italy for red wines, and with good reason. Between Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti and the like, there are numerous legendary wines being produced from red grapes. Additionally there are tons of indigenous varietals specific to smaller regions all over Italy. So if white wine isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to Italian wines, you’re forgiven. But you should be thinking of them because there are some delicious and fascinating whites coming out of Italy, particularly in the north. Here’s a look at two from Zuani, a small family-owned producer. The family has a dynasty dating back to the late 1800s. The property they make these wines from is a 30 acre parcel they have owned since 2001. These wines are made from the same grapes, in different styles and both really deliver outstanding flavor and quality.
Zuani Vigne 2012 Colio Bianco ($24): was produced using fruit sourced in San Floriano del Colio. This offering blends together friulano, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio. Each varietal was picked and vinified separately. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Stunning white peach aromas are underscored by wisps of lemon curd on the vibrant nose of this white wine. An impressive combination of varied fruit flavors makes up the seamlessly cohesive and super-appealing palate. Stone fruits, tangerine, and mango are all in evidence. The honeyed finish is incredibly rich as well as refreshing and crisp with bold acidity. The Zuani Vigne 2012 Colio Bianco would work tremendously well as a welcome wine and is also a great match for light foods; soft cheeses, appetizers, entrée salads, and white meats will all work.
Zuani 2011 Riserva Collio Bianco ($37): was produced from fruit sourced in the D.O.C. Collio zone. The wine is a blend of friulano, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio. Fermentation and aging took place in small new French oak barrels. This wine was bottled unfiltered. Bits of toast and linseed oil are prominent on the nose of this wine. The palate is studded with a firm core of apple flavors such as yellow delicious and gala, not to mention Bartlett pear and gentle grapefruit elements. Lemon ice, a serious core of spices, honeydew melon, and tart green apple characteristics are all in play on the lengthy finish. This wine works on its own but truly excels when paired with food. Creamy sauces, bold cheeses, and substantial appetizers will all work wonderfully. This wine has depth, precision, and complexity to spare.
These two wines made from the same grapes sourced on the same property, albeit in different years, are a fine example of how winemaking decisions strongly influence the final product. They’re both seamless blends that showcase a host of varietals coming together to form one cohesive wine, but they’re also quite distinct in their own right. With warm weather around the corner, these white wines are a good choice for outdoor dining. So sure, keep drinking those Barolo’s, but pop open some whites from Italy too.