Losing your V-Card.
First off is another Italian white, since we’ve been on that kick. Not a “V” wine, but an Italian autochthonal grape nonetheless. This wine is made from the Insolia grape, grown on the island of Sicily. The Feudo Principi di Butera 2015 Insolia Sicilia is minerally but rich. I didn’t expect a wine with a backbone of flint like this to have such a full mouthfeel, but this one surprised me. Nose of peach and banana. Firm, elegant body with some stone fruit. Finish is almonds, lemons, and minerals.. A really nice all-around white wine. Was a lovely pairing with a sous-vide salmon filet alongside a fatoush-ish salad. Enough oomph to both stand up to the oil in the salmon and to stand out against the vinegar and acid in the salad. Reminded me a little of a Condrieu from France, which would retail at around twice the price. A steal at $15.
Next up is an example of doing something typically thought of as a basic wine really, really well. I’m a fan of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo as an inexpensive, everyday table wine. There’s also a Riserva version of this underrated quaff, which means that it’s been aged for at least two years.
That’s the case with the Caroso 2010 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva, whose body immediately jumps out of the glass as richer and fuller than most of its more inexpensive cousins. With blackcurrant and blackberry on the palate, it boasts a firm tannicky backbone. I thought I could have easily mistaken this for a Cabernet Sauvignon, especially on the finish, which has an interesting blend of tannin, cherries, and figs. I was so pleased to find a complexity I’m not used to with my friendly Montepulciano, and it was a stunningly good match with my “Eggplant Pamesan,” one of my special occasion meal for the SPinC. I don’t usually splurge on Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but at $22, worth a shot to see if it’s up your alley.
Finally, there’s a current trend in Prosecco that doesn’t thrill me. A few years ago, Moscato had a big moment on the culinary stage. Moscato was a good brunch choice – low alcohol, a little bubbly – so it went well with breakfast food. But it was always a bit sweet for my liking on a regular basis. Most Prosecco I’d tried reminded me a lot of slightly fruitier Cava – both were straightforward, fairly dry sparkling wines. Moscato has fallen a bit out of favor, but Prosecco is taking up that market share by becoming more Moscato-like.
The Castello del Poggio (NV) Prosecco is an example of this very thing. At 11% ABV, it’s a fairly light white. The carbonation is creamy and soft next to a flavor based around golden delicious apples. Listed as a “demi-sec” (medium-dry) wine, I found the honey sweetness to be a bit overpowering, all in all, and the wine’s whole flavor tended to be a lack a crispness that I like in a sparkling wine. It’s not that it’s a bad wine, per se, but it’s not normally what I’d reach for. If you were making cocktails, it might not be a bad mixer. $13.