Unusual Grapes: a selection of our favourite white wines from Italy

Looking for a dry white wine? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that is on offer. Which is why we have put together a list of our favourite wines. It contains wines from each of our Flavours Destinations and each wine displays characteristics typical of its region. 

Fiano

Fiano is a wonderful grape variety that has grown a lot in popularity in recent years. Originally from Campania in Southern Italy it is now grown successfully across the world. In youth, it has fresh and vibrant flavours of white peach and orange blossom balanced with the characteristic acidity of all Italian white wines. It is a great wine for those who like Chenin Blanc. Also known as Apiano, the latin root of the word Ape for bees, the Fiano grapes are particularly attractive to bees and the best wines can develop notes of honey and hazelnut. The hills of Avellino are home to the most renowned vineyards of  Fiano due to their proximity to the Apennine Mountains and the volcanic, mineral-rich soils from Vesuvius.

We offer two examples of this incredible variety in our handpicked White Wine Box.

 

Photo: Ciara Menzies

The first is a lighter, easy-drinking style: ‘Mezzogiorno Fiano 2016’ Astrum from Puglia, Italy. Due to the vineyards proximity to the sea, this wine is notably fresher and drier than its counterparts from Campania and is perfect to drink on its own or as an aperitivo.

The second displays more complexity and fullness that would be the perfect accompaniment to richer seafood dishes and white meats. It is grown on the Gulf of Salerno on vines as old as 40 years, near to the ancient Greek site of Paestum. The vineyards are directly across the bay from our villas in Amalfi, and the aromas of honeysuckle and lemon zest will transport you to back to evenings spent listening to the sounds of the waves. This wine will age incredibly well, if you can resist it. ‘Kratos 2016’ Luigi Maffini. Campania, Italy.

Grechetto

The name of the grape variety ‘Grechetto’ derives from its Greek Origins, however today it grows most successfully in Umbria, Central Italy. This variety has developed a reputation for producing quirky, fun wines that have bags of flavour. The wine we have selected ‘D’Oro 2016’ Cantina Goccia from Umbria, Italy is accessible, elegant with mineral undertones. Cantina Goccia are a family run vineyard that produces small quantities of wine ensuring the highest quality. All the grapes are hand harvested and all the wines are made with traditional artisan methods. These winemaking choices ensure that the wines strongly reflect their Umbrian roots and display a sense of place.  Drink this wine with lentils, pasta or anything made with fresh Italian herbs.

‘D’Oro 2016’ Cantina Goccia. Photo: Ciara Menzies

Grillo

Once described as a workhorse grape, Grillo has really started to shine in recent years. Sicilian wines are known for their true expressions of terroir and sense of place. Traditional wine-making methods let the grapes reflect their region avoiding the use of oak or fining agents. Vino Laurio’s ‘Grillo Vigna Giardinello 2015’ is made in the province of Trapani. This wine has a distinct savoury herbal quality with aromas of sage and mint, balanced with pineapple, lemon and orange. We recently served this during an Amici event in Edinburgh. It is the perfect wine to enjoy with anything ‘agrodolce’ such as cous cous, sarde en saor, Moroccan tagines or caponata. Many of these dishes are taught by Nonna Carla on our Sicilian Cooking holiday.

Vino Laurio’s ‘Grillo Vigna Giardinello 2015’ Photo: Ciara Menzies

Sauvignon Blanc

We all know that Sauvignon Blanc grows extremely well in France and New Zealand, but its success in the North Italy is often overshadowed by the popularity of Pinot Grigio. In the mountainous region of Alto Adige, the sunshine filled days and the cooler nights allow Sauvignon Blanc to maintain its freshness and aromatic qualities. As a result, we have selected Nals Margreid’s ‘Sauvignon Blanc 2015’ for its balanced flavours of grapefruit, elderflower and fresh pear. The grapes that make up this wine are grown across the entire region. This allows the winemaker to achieve perfect balance and consistency in every bottle. Most of the vineyards are at a high altitude ensuring the wine remains extremely fresh and vibrant. This wine is best drunk with fresh fish, colourful salads and light pasta dishes.

Nals Margreid’s ‘Sauvignon Blanc 2015’ Photo: Ciara Menzies

Manzoni Bianco

Incrocio is the Italian word for crossing and Professor Luigi Manzoni from Veneto, is renowned for creating some of the most successful grape crossings in the world. We have included a ‘Manzoni Bianco’ which is a crossing between Pinot Blanc and Riesling. Another example of well-known crossing is Pinotage, a hybrid of Cinsault and Pinot Noir. Case Paolin’s  ‘Costa degli Angeli Manzoni Bianco 2015’ is from Veneto, one of our Cooking Holiday destinations. The organic vineyards are located on the hillsides just outside Treviso and the family create wines full of tropical and citrus fruit with aromas of lemon verbena. Due to its alpine territory this wine is steely and structured enough to stand up to creamy risottos and pastas.

Case Paolin’s ‘Costa degli Angeli Manzoni Bianco 2015’ Photo: Ciara Menzies

 

Wines are available to purchase from Woodwinters. All our Flavours Cooking and Painting Holidays include a visit to a local vineyard to taste the local specialities. Click here to browse the many destinations and activities we have on offer.