|La Battistina Gavi: Photo Credit Bill Rockwell|
One of the things that makes wine such an interesting subject is the vast catalogue of makers, styles, regions, growing conditions and grape varieties to choose from. Sometimes it seems as if you can have a different bottle of wine each day for the rest of your life without repeating.
Recently, I had the chance to open two bottles of wine made from grape varieties that were new to me. The first, a 2013 La Battistina Gavi is made from the Cortese grape, grown primarily in the southeastern corner of the Piedmonte section of Northern Italy in and around the town of Gavi where it had a documented use as a wine grape since 1659.
Overall, the grape resembles Pinot Grigio's flavor profile, but with a bit more acid, a lighter color and a greater depth of fruit. I found the aroma more on the vegetative side something akin to broccoli, carrot and asparagus, but the first taste accents included apple, pear, tangerine and pineapple with a fairly long and faintly sweet finish. Not overly complex, the wine sometimes referred to as "The Chablis of Italy," is nicely balanced, refreshing and good match for seafood or simply sipping by itself.
The La Battistina is made from 100% Cortese grapse, which allows the true, unadulterated flavors of the grape to shine. Alcohol is 12% and the suggested retail cost is around $16
|Bodega Franco-Espanolas Royal: Photo Credit Bill Rockwell|
Noted wine writer Jancis Robinson calls Viura "The Cinderella Grape," saying in 2010 that over the past few years she'd "been increasingly impressed by wines made from a grape that is hardly ever written about."
Again, I discovered vegetative qualities like rhubarb and green beans on the nose and fruit like apple, apricot, cantaloupe and lemon on the palate. The Viura's light body and crisp taste makes it refreshingly apt for the summer months, either as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to fresh fish, oysters, calamari, clams, mussels and lobster.
More like a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay, the 2012 Royal has a pale straw color, a light to moderate body and 12% alcohol and is a bargain at $10.