Maybe it’s the very rare 110-degree weather here in Seattle, but I find myself reaching for crisp white wines along with my Topo Chico to beat the heat. Perhaps it’s my desire to travel after being home for such a long stretch of time, but I find Italian whites have been hitting the spot. There are numerous options, but the three often found chilling in my refrigerator are Vermentino, Pinot Grigio, and Soave.
Vermentino is heavily planted on the island of Sardinia, in Liguria, and a personal favorite of mine comes from Tuscany. With notes of grapefruit, white peach, subtle floral, and often finishing with a delightful almond note, Vermentino makes a perfect summer beverage. Seafood, hummus platters, and summer vegetables such as artichokes and asparagus pair beautifully with this wine. Refreshing and nuanced, Poggio al Tesoro’s Solosole, hails from Tuscany offering lemon, lime, grapefruit with Mediterranean herbs, and a seafood friendly salinity.
Another favorite to pair with lighter fair and sunshine is Pinot Grigio; from Italy, this grape shows its mineral and dry personality compared to Alsace’s richer and more complex expression (Pinot Gris). Citrus-driven with notes of minerality, Pinot Grigio can range from simple and quaffable to more complex, like Jermann’s bottling from Friui-Venezia Giulia. The unique terroir of Jermann’s vineyards allows for the grapes to get longer time in the sun, with the wine expressing a richer palate of orchard fruit and alpine herbs.
Finally, a perennial favorite is Soave. Hailing from the Veneto and made primarily from Garganega, it often has notes of stone fruit, green melon, citrus, herbs, and a rocky minerality. You can find bottles that are made in a richer style that will show marmalade, honey, and even a little botrytis. Think seafood, white meat, lighter pasta and rice dishes -- or as I do, my Friday afternoon end of the work week beverage. Pieropan was the first to do a bottling of a single vineyard Soave decades ago and is still one of the most regarded producers. Their Soave is crisp, refreshing with white peach, apricot, sweet herbs, and crushed rocks.
Other wonderful Vermentinos to explore:
Antinori Guado al Tasso
Cardedu “Nuo” Vermentino di Sardegna
Other wonderful Pinot Grigios to enjoy:
Alois Lageder “Riff”
Cantina Tramin-Kellerei Tramin
Other Classic Soave Producers:
If you would like to explore any of these wines, please ask Mariano to source them for you. In the meantime, I’m going to pour myself a glass of Soave and plan my trip to Italy. Cheers!