Over the past couple months my posting has gotten a little more inconsistent, as other things I’ve been working on have started to take up more of my time. I’m still finding time to drink the wine, mind you, just not finding as much time to write about it. It is also becoming a bit more of a challenge as I begin to tackle some of the more generic wine regions in the country. Which (as I’ve said before when discussing some of the IGT regions) isn’t to say that the wine coming out of the regions isn’t as good as what comes out of other regions around the country. Just that the variety of grapes and styles of wine allowed make the regions as a whole jump out less. However, one of the benefits of this is that it is often easier to find good-value wines in these regions.
For this wine, we go back to the northeast Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and visit another wine region in the northeastern corner of the country (which, given the way the “boot” juts out, is actually not much further east than Rome, even though Rome is on the west coast of Italy). This is the Friuli-Grave DOC, which borders the Friuli Colli Orientali DOC, a region we looked at earlier, near the border between Italy and Slovenia. This DOC is the largest in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and accounts for over half of the region’s overall production. While it’s easy to see where “Friuli” comes from, “Grave” takes it’s name from Alluvial, which refers to the gravelly soil that characterizes much of this growing region. The wines you find coming out of this region are very diverse. There are red and white blends allowed, as well as six red wine varietals (Cabernet [Franc/Sauvignon blend], Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Refosco, and Pinot Noir) and eight whites (Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Gris, Riesling Renano, Sauvignon, Friulano, Traminer Aromatico, and Verduzzo Friulano). The region also allows for a Chardonnay frizzante and a Verduzzo frizzante as well as a Chardonnay spumante and a blended spumante. For wines that are labeled by the varietal, the wine must be made from at least 90% of the listed grape, with the remaining 10% coming from any other grape of the same color.
Given some of the interesting names in the list of allowed varietals, this wine might come across as a bit boring. It’s a Pinot Grigio from the producer Villa Marchesi and is probably the first 2012 vintage I’ve had so far, other than a Beaujolais Nouveau last fall of course. It has a clear and pale appearance with lemon coloring. The nose has medium intensity, but lots of bright, tropical fruit flavors that come across, which I was not expecting. Banana, mango, and melon are dominant, with some sweet floral notes as well. The flavor profile matches the nose: banana, melon, and mango, this time joined by some peach and maybe a bit of passion fruit. It is a dry wine with medium acidity and body. It has a medium finish, leaving you with mostly banana and melon flavors. The flavors are very forward in this wine, but seem to take away from the depth of the wine a little. It could probably benefit from a little more acidity to give it the rigidity to stand up to the fruit on the palate. Overall, however, it is a nice wine, and different from many Pinot Grigio’s I’ve had from the Tre Venezie.