Friday, June 22, 2007

Keep on Trocken'...

Sec on the Beach
Cool white wine in a warm climate is a great pleasure. While I like fruity Rieslings and dessert wines, right now I am looking at dry wines, the seccos of the Italian landscape.

Picture the Southern Italian scene, Maratea in Calabria or Gargano in Puglia. Fresh seafood, cool water, warm sand. Primitivo doesn’t sound too good at that moment. I’m looking for a bone dry white to soak up the heat. Something for the shoreline of the mind. Delicate, lithe, tanned and toned.

Now We’re Cooking
Inland, perhaps the Sila forest or the Marche foothills, where the climate is a little cooler. Still some fine access to the fresh fish off the coast. There, a white still sounds good, perhaps a Pecorino or a Mantonico.
Pulling a few fresh vegetables from the garden, zucchini or arugula, and making a salad with a nice filet of tuna or chicken. A Grechetto from Umbria or an Ansonica from Tuscany would fit the bill. Refreshing, light and dry. For the next few months that is my mantra. And try to escape the heat.

Back to the Adriatic coast, a few other wines to consider. The lowly Trebbiano I have already written about. It is already in the refrigerator. Add a little Verdicchio, perhaps from Jesi or Matelica. While the Trebbiano is drier and more acidic, the Verdicchio still qualifies.

Clean Country Air
Popping up to the Veneto on the way to Trentino and Alto Adige. One of my favorites is a blend from Maculan, the Pino and Toi. I’m looking at a certain wavelength, what the Germans call Trocken, and the three grape blend of Maculan gets on the boat. Clean, hillside vineyards, refreshed by the Alpine breezes, maintained by Lake Garda.

Muller Thurgau and Sauvignon in the Trentino and Alto Adige also will be spending the summer under the Texas sun. With some of the highest elevated vineyards in Europe, the white wines have an allure, a quiet, seductive quality in hushed tones that echoes across the valley, making the Austrians jealous.

The Great Escape
There’s a quality of these wines that didn't exist 30 years ago. Maybe it’s the yeast, maybe cold maceration, or perhaps just the availability of refrigeration, for the fermentation tanks and the containers that ship them over. We warm the planet so our wine can be cool. Always a trade off.

I can get lost sampling the whites up in the northern hills, and the foods that go so well during this long, hot season here in the Southern Plains.

Photo Finish
This all started with a German wine that was opened recently. It was a simple white, Riesling, but dry, Trocken.

The Vinho Verde from Portugal was also at the starting gate, bucking to beak lose and sprint. Now it’s a simple, but long race to October, to get through the hot muggy summer that just commenced.

While the Italians will be flocking to the coastlines, drinking all manner of wine, I’ll be thinking about them as I polish off a bottle or two of the new wave of great white wines, from the wine trail in Italy.

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