Why do I do these things to myself?
I could quite happily go through life without ever buying any Italian wine – let alone any Pinot Grigio – and just enjoying my NZ Sauvignon Blanc, Californian Chardonnay and German Riesling in peace.
But there’s the constant nagging suspicion that I’m missing out: that I’m just not “getting it”, or that I’m not getting the right bottles from the right regions using the right varietals.
So in every batch I buy nowadays I try and include at least one Italian wine.
Sooner or later my total number of Italian wines enjoyed might reach double figures. Who knows?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I know (or on the tongue, sometimes), so I didn’t let the utterly abominable bottle artwork of this Maestro Italiano put me off this blend of two familiar grapes.
I mean, look at it: it has a sort of yellow gold covering of plastic over the whole thing, as though it’s embarassed by its contents and intent on covering up. It’s all very strange. And God knows what that little picture in the middle is: it looks like one of those landscapes you get painted on grains of rice by confused diasporan Chinese folks in the tourist areas of European capitals. But bigger, obviously.
Coupled with the horrible plastic cork I excavated from within, it wasn’t a promising start.
But you know what? It actually tasted pretty good.
I’d hope it would be okay for £8.50, but I was sort of expecting it to be insipid, highly acidic and unexciting.
Conversely, it was pleasantly pineappley and lightly floral in aroma, with hints of lemons, but not an overpowering citrus weight as is often present in smell and taste with Italian whites (I find). I am always sort of suspicious of Pinot Grigio anyway, knowing that its light and acidic nature tends toward the side of white wines that doesn’t excite me much at all, however, in this instance it seems the crispness of the Pinot grape works as a pretty good counterbalance to the more full fruit flavours of the Chardonnay.
It displays little of the buttery quality of the New World Chardonnays I enjoy, but nevertheless has a sweet and warming honey edge to accompany the zesty tropical fruits.
A wine that’s likely to please a lot of people, and while it’s not the best value around, it’s certainly one of the more satisfying Italian white wines I’ve had. I’ll keep an eye out of that gaudy, disgusting packaging next time I’m in a wine shop with a broad selection, such as J Wadsworth, St Ives, where I picked this one up.