9 February 2005 - Italian Whites, What's New, What's Good?
Vermentino -- a grape grown almost exclusively along the Mediterranean coast in Italy (espicially Sardinia, Liguria and Tuscany) and France where it is known as Rolle. Look for Santadi in Sardinia, Terenzuola and Gualdo del Rey in Tuscany.
Greco di Tufo -- the main white grape of Campania. My favorite the last couple of vintages is Ferrara.
Jermann -- This is not a grape variety, but a producer, in Friuli, who makes one of the greatest white blends in the world, Vintage Tunina. It has a little bit of everything -- Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia, Picolit; and there's nothing quite like it. Vintage Tunina has been around since the 1970s, so it might suffer from over-familiarity or complacency, but it's still thrilling white wine, and the best of an amazing array from this great winery.
Franciacorta (especially Bellavista) -- Italy's best dry bubblies come from Franciacorta, in Lombardy -- it's the only place in the world of sparkling wine that rivals Champagne in style and quality. One of the greatest, most overlooked wine-producing regions in the world.
Prosecco -- A grape, unique to the Veneto, that is responsible for the most distinctive, delicious, lovable sparkling wine not made in the Champagne method or style. Hands down favorite is Nino Franco's Primo Franco, creamy, frothy, barely sweet, irresistably delicious.
There is more. In Italy, there is always more.