Mediterranean-esque White Wines 01-10-13By
Because of our VINO restaurant, we are always searching for tasty, interesting, food friendly Mediterranean white wines which will work with our foods. Easier said than done. Here are 4 of our recent “finds”.
This is Vermentino grown in the rugged, unhospitable, remote terrain of Cap Corse on the isle of Corsica. Cap Corse, a largely isolated and thinly populated peninsula at the top of Corsica, sits like a finger pointing up at Genova, its former colonial ruler. The Genovese landed on the Cap in the 14th century and from there soon conquered the entire island. Little has changed at the domaine since it began, and it is still Michel who works the vines and makes the wines on his own as he has done for nearly six decades.
Since the beginning he has paid little attention to the outside world, uninterested in the new technologies and fads that have afflicted so many other domaines. His wines have a timeless sense of place, much as the one who makes them, a wise, gentle, true artisan who lives for his métier.
This is a dry, very masculine styled white wine, as sun drenched, stony & earthy as its surroundings with the vigor & fortitude it needed to withstand the challenges of its origins. One can smell & taste the sun baked rocks & the wild shrub & herbs which grow nearby Nothing shy or demure here! Still, it is remarkable how this wine can pair up with more hearty, rustic seafood preparations & fishes like swordfish. This is a very fascinating, unique wine, that’s for sure.
An absolutely delicious, riveting, completely refreshing white wine (a blend of the Insolia & Cataratto grape varieties, although I believe because of the aromatics, there is also a smidgeon of Malvasia as well) from the Isle of Salina, which is located between Sicily & the tip of southern Italy. Yes, the aromatics & perfume is captivating AND uplifting, which is why I think it can work with a wide spectrum of seafood & vegetable dishes in a similar way to how basil or thyme lift foods. There is also a pungent underbrush character too, which reminds me of bushes & shrub I smelled in an October walk through Hermitage hill…which I believe the locals noted was hawthorne. The fruit is pungent with earth tones too, but still very lively, light on its feet & very crisp & refreshing. We have been waiting for this wine for quite some time!
2011 Pedres Vermentino di Gallura “Thilibas”
Here is a dry, crisp, invigorating white wine from the picturesque Isle of Sardegna which works wonders with VINO’s seafood dishes because of its lemony, citrus-y edge.
“Vermentino di Gallura is a white DOCG wine produced in Sardinia, and more specifically in Gallura, territory that extends into the remote, barren, hostile north-eastern part of the island“.
2011 Gramenon Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc “Vie on y est”
This is Viognier grown in clay-limestone soils (with gravel, galets & sand intermixed) in the northeastern stretches of France’s southern Rhone Valley…..done in a risky, uber non-interventionalist winemaking style. The wine therefore does not taste or smell so overtly varietal….instead is more about wet stones, more pungent fruit qualities (versus tropical or exotic), masculine in personality, rustic yet still surprsingly light on its feet.
“Domaine Gramenon is the authentic embodiment of the philosophies that the Laurent (family) espouse. They do not merely champion organic farming, but they incorporate the concept of sustainability into their daily lives by growing their own food and raising their own animals. The domaine bottles an AOC Vinsobres and a myriad of parcels of Côtes-du-Rhône located around the domaine. Though Michèle and Maxime continue to test the confines of the appellation, the cellars are unsurprisingly old-fashioned. The Laurents use gravity-fed cuves and age their wines in oak demi-muids and foudres. That they take such gutsy risks as bottling old-vine fruit with so little sulfur, without fining or filtration, only demonstrates the lengths they will go to in order to highlight the freshness, purity, and intoxicating aromas of their small, rare production“.