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Interesting Italian whites?


#1

Hi all,

Over the years I have tried many different regions as its best to never have the same bottle twice as there is so many wines to choose from. When doing my WSET levels I found that Italy was quite complicated to learn about due to the large number of regions as well as all of the grapes that don’t really pop up elsewhere. On the reds I enjoy a good Barolo as well as some Aglianico del vulture (I actually manage to find some taste the difference Aglianico del vulture in Sainsubury for about £7 a bottle!).

On the whites however I have an issue, pretty much all of the Italian whites I have tried have had pretty much the same tasting note of ‘Lemon’ or ‘Citrus fruits’ with very few other interesting characters, I can tell the wine is well made but just not exciting or complex. Comparing other white wines I have had from Bordeaux, Germany or Alsace the Italian whites seem really simple with very little going on - I guess we are sometimes spoiled for choice for aromatic whites.

Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions for slightly odd (or indeed interesting) Italian whites to try, so far even some of the cheaper Portuguese whites are more interesting than some DOCG Italian whites - starting to give up on Italian whites to be honest but will give it one last try with any suggestions here.


Weekend Drinking Thread [17 Mar]
#2

Ooh, I’m so glad you asked this - I love Italian whites!

Here are some of the more interesting and delicious ones I’ve enjoyed:

I ADORE the fiano grape and I think this is a stunning example. Herbal, slightly floral and with a really lovely texture which I think is what sets it apart from other Italian whites.

I personally think this is one of the best hidden gems on our entire list. Really wonderful and a pleasure to drink - quite ridiculous for the price.

I’m not sure about the Falanghina too:

When I’ve had falanghina in the past I’ve enjoyed it for being quite floral, almost with that viognier/gewurztraminer juicy aromatic quality, but I haven’t tried this specific one so I don’t know if that’s something you’ll find.

Hope this helps - and I’ll be keeping an eye out here for other people’s suggestions so I can give them a try. :blush:


#3

I’m definitely on the other side of the fence here - Soave, Gavi, Orvieto… I love a crisp, citrusy drop! But if that’s not your bag then I can completely understand you not clicking with Italian whites. I think TWS has a great range of Italian white wines and a lot are in that vein. For me, two of the less expensive bottles in the range - the Mandrarossa Vermentino (is Vermentino the most under-appreciated white grape? I absolutely love it!) and Palladium Garganega are both phenomenal value but are unlikely to change your mind.

Here are a couple that might be worth a go:


I’ve tried both, and remember enjoying them and thinking they were a bit more interesting than your average dry Italian white, but I’m afraid I can’t really tell you more about them than that as it’s been a while!

I’m intrigued by this too, but when I bought it I took it to a friend’s house to have with dinner. We didn’t open it and I left it there. A complete wine fail.


#4

Good question and great suggestions.

@Bargainbob - that Dragon is fantastic, though I have not had the most recent vintage. Hard to describe exactly, but IIRC it was described as having a character similar to a Chablis in terms of minerality, which I wouldn’t disagree with, but did have a more rounded tropical fruit character than that implies.

My recent favourites would require you to be careful about your grape’s provenance:

a Vermentino di Sardegna
and a Verdicchio di Matellica (not Metallica as Google will insist on replacing it with)

In both cases, you get a wine with more depth of flavour than the classic “citrus with a stone fruit, dry acidity” that you might associate with Italian whites.

Other wines to look out for are the higher end wines made from Pecorino (not the cheese), and the wines of Lugana made with the Turbiana grape (the Ca’ dei Frati is a great example):


#5

Ooh, don’t get me started on Italian whites, @M1tch! I concur with all of the above suggestions, and would add three of my own. Add another couple by pot luck and you’ll have a whole case of fab Italian whites - and what’s more you now have a guest list for dinner …:point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2:

This single vineyard Orvieto from Barberani adds another dimension and complexity:

Pieropan Soave always delivers - this single vineyard expression always hits the spot for me:

And for some Sicilian grapiness, you can’t go wrong with this dry Muscat from the western end of the island:


#6

What I love about Italian whites:

  1. Grape diversity - I always feel like I’m more in touch with an ancient wine culture when drinking Greco or Timorasso or Pecorino - it also has a romantic association - as if small producers have successfully defended an inherited tradition in the face of globalizing forces (yes - romantic I know but…)

  2. They are great Value For Money at ALL price points - up and down the range they deliver more than so many other European regions (I think)


#7

I think that Soave La Rocca, Pieropan is a terrific wine but it’s got very expensive.

I also like Planeta and Jermann, the latter not stocked, unfortunately.


#8

I have enjoyed the Etna Bianco, I love whites from Campania such as Greco di Tufo, Fiano D’Avolino and Falanghina as well. The Hofstatter Pinot Bianco is great if you love mineral wines.


#9

I love La Rocca for a treat, but I find Pieropan’s Calvarino a tad more affordable. It ages very well too.


Soave is a great place to visit if ever you’re over there. Mention to either Pieropan or Coffele (they’re across the main drag from each other) that you’re a Wine Society member and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.


#10

I notice that there are 2 Italian whites in the Enomatic machine in the showroom at the moment, will have a go at some point and report back:


#11

You guys, I think this thread is essentially turning into my shopping list for my next purchase… :grin:

Great shout with Hofstatter, @NickFoster - that’s also reminded me I’ve been meaning to buy this wine to try for a couple of weeks now:

I love gewurz anyway, and I think it’s a grape that definitely fits the bill of an ‘interesting’ white with plenty of character, AND this is from the village where the grape originated, Tramin, which I think makes it a really special buy. Anyone had this before?


#12

Any thoughts on wine to drink in Naples?


#13

That has to be Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, surely? I have had some great individual bottles in restaurants over time, but also indifferent ones, and sadly I can’t recall what the producers are you should look out for, but maybe you could investigate? I believe Mastroberardino make one


#14

Lacryma can be mediocre, Mastroberardino and Feudi Di San Gregorio are the best know decent producers, but Fiano D’Avelino and Greco Di Tufo are the most interesting whites great with Spaghetti alle Vongole. Taurasi can be magnificent as a red, again the same producers are reliable. (I’m sure there is someone more cutting edge by now, I lived in the region in the late 1990’s)

The seafood in Naples is really worth trying!

@laura I’m keen to try Hofstatter’s Gewurz as well. My problem is my partner hates the grape (as well as Marlborough Sauvignon) - I think she has been put off by mediocre examples and will surprise her with a good one!) Together with the Cantina Terlan - Hofstatter are regarded as the best producers in the Sud Tyrol.


#15

I’m with your partner on (many) Marlborough sauvignons, though not all. I love Hofstätter’s wines, and have been fortunate enough to visit and taste there. Their gewürztraminers are excellent, both the Joseph The Society sells and the Kolbenhof (which we occasionally sell). Their pinot biancos are top-notch too, as are their reds. This case is a top choice (pinot bianco, pinot nero and lagrein) … apologies for digressing in a red direction …


#16

Great shout on Planeta and Jermann, lovely wines. Big fan of the Planeta Chardonnay and, if you can get it, the Riesling.


#17

Pieropan make great wines.

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano is the best, straight up Italian I have drunk this year - even if it was a young 2014.

My real interest where Italy is right now is in the low intervention stuff (don’t call it Natural etc). Producers like Barbacarlo, Cantina Giardino, Cascina Degli Uvi, Cos, Occhipinti, Cristiano Guttarolo, Farnea, Frank Cornelissen, Gabrio Bini, Le Coste Nino Barraco, Radikon and Orsi San Vito.

Sure I love a really good Roero Arneis, Etna red and whites, Barolo or Barbaresco (though I think my love for Nebbiolo is further north in Valtellina at times), but a once in a while splurge on something that ticks a lot of boxes but is hard to get hold of, is where my italian interests lie these days.


#18

Cheers for the recommendations @NickFoster :slight_smile:

I’ve just drank this Greco (after never hearing about the grape before) as it was part of the Champion New Arrivals Case and I can wholly recommend for anyone who is into their Viognier


#19

raises hand Me, me, me, I love viognier!! Oh thanks for this recommendation, I’ll grab a bottle to take on holiday with us next week - I don’t actually know if I’ve tried the greco grape before so this could be a big new favourite. :grinning: My mother-in-law is another viognier nut so I’ll let you know what we reckon!


#20

I haven’t had the Alovini greco but I really loved this: