We have had a real fascination with aromatic wines which combine aromatics with minerality. They offer such dynamic, mesmerizing pairings with foods, on a very different level/dimension than other wines. This concept is much more than a trend. With the way fusion foods and cooking styles are changing in so many different directions, we have to continually search out and find appropriate wines for pairings. Aromatic white wines is a niche well worth checking out. The main challenge is finding GOOD ones. Yes, they are really surprisingly hard to come by. Here are four really worth trying which should show you what they can be. How often do opportunities like this come around!
2015 Château Feuillet Moscato Bianco “Valle D’Aosta”–A dry, quite masculine, sturdy “mountain grown” white wine, fragrant of stony soils and the Moscato grape variety. Yes, quite unique and mesmerizing. “The vines sit in a very shallow sandy soil, but their feet wriggle into crevices in the solid granite bedrock. Any rain is quickly dried out by cleansing winds. And the vineyards are planted on an ancient riverbed, roughly 3000 feet in elevation, where over the millennia the Dora Baltea River has cut through the mountain, creating the current river valley and leaving behind mineral deposits that the wines happily lap up. The trump card, however, may be the exposition of the vineyards, which in combination with the chilly climate, high altitude, and drastic diurnal temperature shifts provides the magic charm sought by vignerons everywhere: extremely long hours of gentle sunlight”.
2015 Vignai da Duline Malvasia Istriana “Chioma Integrale”–Planted in limestone-red clay soils back in 1960. Wild yeast fermented, this wine is then aged for 7 to 8 months in 50% 11HL barrels (5 years old) & 50% in 2.5HL barrels (5 to 15 years old). Kermit Lynch—“I found gold from those beautiful Friuli hills—finesse, touch, and class. Delicious AND interesting”.
2013 Kante Malvasia–Kante was an early proponent of “orange” wines, but today is in a “zone” of producing wines of great purity, precision and sophistication. Pure genius and a true vigneron. There is no doubt he is considered one of the true, contemporary winemaking stars of Italy. This wine remains on the lees for six months then aged for twelve months in OLD barrels. “In this near-perfect combination of climate and terreno, Edi Kante produces wines that are poised, solid, fresh, and brimming with the character of both the chosen grape and the stark limestone soil of Carso at nearly 3000 feet in elevation”.
2016 Caravaglio Malvasia Bianco “Salina”–we poured this last wine BLIND. As one taster surprisingly noted–this wine had a riper, more sundrenched mouthfeel. Yet another noted, that this wine had a salinity to its taste (& smell). This was the intent–to show how different an aromatic Italian white can be from a warmer growing area. In this case the home turf is the island of Salina, which is located just north of Sicily. This site is warmer & more sundrenched than the other 3 wines & therefore has a different mouthfeel. In addition, this wine also has a salinity character both in the nose as well as on the palate. Is it because the vineyards overlook the sea? In any case. this wine would work best with a whole different set of dishes & styles of cooking.