The recent flood of new Italian offerings at the NLC included enough pinot grigio to float The Matthew. It was flight from debts in his home town of Venice that delivered“John Cabot” to our shores. Cabotto’s turf, the Veneto, and north through Friuli all the way to Slovenia, produces much white wine of considerably more interest than default “pinot grigio.”
The Anselmi San Vincenzo (NLC S21.38)
Soave has a reputation for being as indifferent as most pinot grigio, but there are good growers and makers of delicious examples. The Anselmi San Vincenzo is one such wine. It flouts the rules of the Denominazione de Origine Controllata by being 70% Garganega (as dictated) with the other 30% made up of (until recently disallowed) Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, so doesn’t identify itself as Soave.
I don’t think that blend of grapes is supposed to work but it does here. The San Vincenzo has the delicate floral and mineral notes, something lemony and maybe the verbena or tarragon you expect from the best Soave, but there is some added funk and hum from the French grapes.
It has good acidity but also unexpected and welcome chew. Great match for a seafood risotto.
The Pasqua Passimento Bianco (NLC $18.74)
The Pasqua Passimento Bianco is again from Garganega grapes, grown in the Valpolicella zone of the Veneto, but in this instance they are sun-dried before fermentation to concentrate flavour. This is unctuous yet crisp, with honey on the nose, creamy citrus notes and a buttery mouthfeel.
It’s liquid lemon meringue pie. This oddity is a winning surprise, though we’re not yet sure what it will best accompany at table. Send your suggestions.