Sunday, March 12, 2023

An Italian wine lover's incessant love affair with (lithe and sexy) Trebbiano

Recently, the Italian wine producers have been hitting the road. Tre Bicchieri and Slow Wine road shows, along with an agglomeration of small producers, importers, p.r. firms and producer consortiums, have been traversing the globe, once again. Even with our pandemic hangover still lingering in mind, if not in deed, the world must not stand still. And so, I ventured to a local tasting of the Slow Wine Tour, here in my home base of Dallas, Texas.

The day would be crowded with other obligatory duties. My son was scheduled to get an elective procedure (snip, snip) and he needed me to drive him to and fro, which constituted crossing several urban centers in our metroplex, a round trip of about 100 miles. In addition to that, the weather was dotty. Rain was in the forecast, and in Texas, in March, that could mean anything from a light downpour to an F5 tornado.

I got my son to the venue and headed south about 20 minutes, in good traffic, to Eataly where the event was to be. I had about 30 minutes, and I was watching the weather closely, because on the way down, I noticed a lot of stand-still traffic and approaching clouds filled with potential rain.

Inside Eataly, the layout was spacious and orderly. But for some reason I wanted to start with white wines.

Along the way I saw folks I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic. Some of them I really hadn’t missed. But I was there not to socialize, but to taste and get back to my son.

Once I had tasted what I wanted, I got out of there. And in time, as once I picked up my son, the deluge commenced. And it was a slog to get my son back over into his town and then me back to my side of the urban center. That took me about two hours. I had time enough to think about the few wines I tasted.

I realized I had only tasted white wines made from Trebbiano based grapes. The wines were Trebbiano Spoletino, Lugana and Verdicchio. Odd coincidence, it brought to mind a line from Rilke’s poem, “Go to the limits of your longing.” I’ve long had an affection for the Trebbiano grape, and have written about it here over the years. Now, it was manifesting as sub-dermal, even subliminal. I guess I’m in love.

The author Katherine May says, “Our bodies have answers to questions we don’t know how to ask.” I’m not sure my affliction for Trebbiano goes as deep as that, but there is something about the wine from those grapes that have been a part of my upbringing in Italian wine and the experiences along that way that formed me, partially, as who I am. For better or worse, it’s not the fault of the Trebbiano grape or the wines from it. But we do seem to be traveling along similar paths, even if only in my mind.

The wines:

Perticaia Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino 2022

A well-polished wine, which had a good dollop of acidity but was balanced with healthy fruit. No Sauvignon Blanc impersonator, this wine had its own identity and it was downright gorgeous.

Tenuta Roveglia Lugana “Limne” 2021

What I liked about this wine was its unassuming character. It didn’t shout, “Here I am!” it was mellow and smooth, but present in its portrayal what a good Lugana should be. It had some sense of place, which for an inexpensive wine, is admirable. Very enjoyable.

Tenuta Roveglia “Vigne di Catullo” Lugana Riserva 2019

A deeper, richer, version, from special vines and treatment. Again, not too overly polished or manipulated, this wine was direct and forthcoming in its assault upon my tastebuds. But it was embracingly enchanting. Lovely wine again, really worth seeking out.

Verdicchio di Matelica, Bisci 2022

I’m a sucker for Verdicchio, and Matelica, at that. This one, from Bisci, was fresh and lively, just one of those kinds of wines that you don’t have to think about too much. Just enjoy it. After all, if you’re having an affair with Trebbiano, shouldn’t it be enjoyable and pleasant? Which this was, in droves.

Verdicchio di Matelica “Fogliano”, Bisci 2020

Again, a reserve version. A bit more serious, a little more of the gravitas the wine’s regions have been known to exemplify. For my money, this is the kind of wine I like to drink daily (if I were ever to become a daily drinker again). But as it is, I could imagine enjoying this on a Sunday afternoon with an endless buffet of fritto misto. That would be my idea of Heaven.

Bisci Extra Brut

Just a little lagniappe from this producer and a welcome one at that. Sparkling Verdicchio (Martinotti method) in an extra brut (bone dry) style. What a way to end a tasting before heading out into the wind and the rain (I spit, not swallowed). With all the hubbub over Prosecco, why aren’t wines like this in greater demand? This is a question I have been asking for 30+ years, by the way. I wonder if my body has an answer to that question. If it did, it would probably be something like, “wines like these were made for fools like you – not for economic success!” and I would completely understand and partake of, whenever the opportunity presented itself to me. It would not be outside the limits of my longing, but it would definitely be part of my ongoing affair with Trebbiano.


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