Italy produces a wide variety of white wines that are unbeatable for spring and summer drinking. Fermented in stainless steel, they are refreshing and fruit forward with crisp acidity. They also offer the opportunity for wine enthusiasts to taste a variety of indigenous Italian grapes like Garganega, Cortese, Trebbiano. Vermentino, and Arneis. The wines reviewed below are a virtual wine tour around Italy’s many wine regions. All are enjoyable to drink on their own or with food and are highly affordable for everyday drinking.
Importer: Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, VA
Azienda Agricola Giarola 2013 Saint Valery Bianco di Custoza ($13) 88 This wine shows a pretty, floral perfume. It offers fruit forward flavors of stonefruit and white melon with refreshing acidity. An easy drinking, very pleasant wine that can be drunk almost anytime and anywhere but especially on a warm summer night in Verona. Sourced from a 12 ha. vineyard near Lake Garda in Verona. A blend of 40% Garganega, 25% Cortese, 20% Trebbiano Toscano and small amounts of Trebbianello and Chardonnay.
Azienda Agricola Vitivinicola La Zerba Di Ida Cozzio Lorenzi 2013 La Zerba Gavi DOCG ($21) 89 Made from estate grown Cortese grapes, this is a refreshing, light white wine showing scents of grapefruit citrus and lime zest. Showing a touch of astringent acidity on the attack, it’s fragrant with good depth and persistence of flavor, finishing on a note of grapefruit pith. Made from estate grapes grown on the beautiful, 10 hectare La Zerba country estate located in the green hills of Gavi at 1500’.
Cortenova 2013 Pinot Grigio Puglia IGT ($9) 88 This is a nice, mineral-infused Pinot Grigio. It’s bright and fresh like a Pinot Grigio should be with herbal and citrus notes, good flavor density (unlike many inexpensive Italian whites), and excellent persistence. It’s the kind of wine that would pair grilled fish or can be drunk as a summer aperitif.
Cantine di Dolianova 2013 Prendas Vermentino di Sardegna ($15) 90 A delicious Vermentino with light aromatics but good depth of flavor and a smooth, lanolin like texture. It has bright acidity and enough weight to pair with a variety of seafood and pasta dishes. Cantine di Dolianova has 441 members farming 1200 hectares in the hills of the Parteolla region in Southern Sardinia. Superb value!
Cantina di Gambellara 2013 i Basalti Soave ($10) 87+ With light aromas of almond, pear and manzanilla tea, this Garganega-based Soave offers a pleasing, creamy soft texture in the mouth. Lightly flavored but with good acidity, it would be a good companion to subtly sauced fish. The Cantina has 365 members farming 650 acres.
Tenuta Le Velette 2012 Berganorio Orvieto Secco Classico ($18) 87 The Berganorio Orvieto is a subtle wine with a bright palate. It shows white flowers on the nose and light citrus notes in the mouth. Its neutral character means it can accompany a wide range of foods. A blend of 30% Trebbiano, 30% Grechetto, 20% Malvasia, 15% Verdello, and 5% Drupeggio. The estate has 103 hectares on the hill opposite the hill town of Orvieto.
Tenuta Le Velette 2012 Rasenna Orvieto Classico Amabile DOC ($18) 89 The Rasenna is an off-dry wine of ripe aromas and flavors. It shows stone fruit aromas and pleasing white peach, melon and tea-like flavors. The wine is round and soft and easy to drink. Would go well with a summer fruit salad served with white cheese. Best served well-chilled.
Azienda Agricola Giacomo Fenocchio 2013 Roero Arneis DOCG ($27) 91 Medium yellow straw. This is classic , 100% Arneis, big flavors, unctuous texture, and superbly balanced. It shows fresh and dried stone fruit with refreshing acidity, a creamy mouth feel, and a 60 second finish.
Azienda Agricola di Ottella di Francesco e Michele Montresor 2013 Lugana Bianco ($19) 90 This is a fruit-rich wine showing citrus with a hint of passion fruit and quince. It has an especially tangy finish reminiscent of freshly cut grapefruit. Delicious, easy drinking wine done in a very popular style. 100% Turbiano, a clone of Trebbiano di Lugana. Made from estate fruit, hand harvested with brief maceration on the skin. The Azienda Agricola Ottella was founded in 1880 near Lake Garda.
Cantina Villafranca 2013 Frascati ($12) 88 Showing an earthy nose with dried herbal notes, this medium weight Frascati is broad in the mouth with an earthy complexity and bright acidity that would pair well with a wide variety of savory dishes, especially winter vegetables. Made of 45% Malvasia di Candia, 15% Trebbiano Toscano, 25% Malvasia del Lazio, and 15% Grechetto.
Romano Vitas 2013 Pinot Grigio Friuli ($14) 88 Showing scents of green apple, minerals and fresh thyme, this Pinot Grigio is a straightforward, refreshing wine begging to be paired with a light summer seafood salad. It has clean persistent flavors that mirror the bouquet.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler