The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
2013 Villa Mattielli, Pinot Grigio del Veneto (IGT), Verona, Italy
Usually, “value priced” Pinot Grigio is not remarkable, and that’s usually what it’s purchased for – to quaff without distraction. Unfortunately, some can be so bland that their lack of character is, in itself, a distraction. The Villa Mattielli Pinot Grigio del Veneto is a refreshing alternative.
Pinot Grigio is at home in northeastern Italy, including the Veneto, most commonly from Trentino-Alto Adige. What makes this particular bottling slightly unusual and requiring the IGT designation is that it is produced in the DOC region of Soave. DOC/G designated Soaves are made, predominantly, of the Garganega grape. Pinot Grigio is not even on the list of potential blending grapes. The IGT designation allows for non-traditional grapes to be grown and vinified in an area while protecting the integrity of the classic DOC/G wines produced there.
Villa Mattielli is a family estate in the heart of Soave and Valpolicella (think Amarone). Two young sisters have taken on the work begun by their father to create a modern winemaking estate in a region steeped in tradition. The sunny hills and limestone soils that provide ideal growing conditions for the Garganega also provide a unique opportunity for Pinot Grigio – here it may ripen evenly and develop more complexity than in many other parts of northeastern Italy.
Aromas of delicate white flowers, citrus and stony minerality offer more intensity that a typical value priced Pinot Grigio (this is around $10 per bottle). The biggest surprise was on the palate – this wine has more body and fruity flavors than one may expect; mostly peach and stone fruit with a grapefruity bitterness on the finish. The texture is almost silky, which leads me to believe there’s a touch of residual sugar in this 12% ABV wine – not enough to detect it as sweetness, though just enough to make this a viable choice with spicier foods. Try it with fish tacos, falafel, or better yet – this would be a fun match for a variety of aromatic, even fruity, Middle Eastern dishes (time to break in the new Persian, Moorish, and Lebanese cookbooks).
Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com.
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