This was the second round of the Battle of the Unusual Italian Whites (the first being in September 2009), focusing on some whites that don't get a ton of attention from consumers.
Our top three wines were only separated by three points, and everyone felt that these were very good pairs with food. While our top scoring bottle was the most expensive, it was very reasonable at only $20, with the others being inexpensive enough to risk an experiment with.
First Place: La Scolca Gavi 2012. Tasters felt this was funky initially, with notions of wet attic and dust, then turning to vanilla, red hots, grapefruit, and spice notes. Good acidity and pleasant in the mouth. Joyce noted that is was "making my mouth pucker, in a good way". Flavors of grapefruit and grass, with good structure. Some dark notes on the finish, but staying vibrant. Andy, David, and Kristin Amico's favorite of the night. Received 27 points. Kristin's bottle. About $20.
Second Place: St. Michael-Eppan Pinot Bianco 2012 (Alto Adige). Good complexity, with aromas of chalk, citrus oil, saltwater, pineapple, and fresh herbs. Fresh and inviting. Metallic on the palate, with Joyce noting that is was "more astringent that I would have thought". Others found honey, something nutty, butterscotch, orange rind, and creamy goat cheese. Good body. Ali's favorite. Received 25 points. Kristin Amico's bottle. About $14.
Third Place: San Quirico Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2013. Smells pleasant, with scents of white flowers, watermelon Jolly Rancher, and green leaves. David felt that is was "inviting". A bit of spritz left in it, tasting dry and higher in acidity, with a bit of saline and a rose petal note. Not complex, but nice drinking. Made with organic grapes. Kristin Crane and Joyce's favorite. Received 24 points. Andy's bottle. About $15.
Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2012. Tasters found ground dark spices, some body odor, lemons, and an oily note on the nose. Kristin Amico noted "fake peach". Heavier in body, but also soft in texture, and then becomes more medicinal with air. David liked it the most, settling on "interesting". Finishes short. Received 7 points. Joyce's bottle. About $12.
Salviano Orvieto Classico Superiore 2011. Scents of ashtray, eraser, petroleum, green bell pepper, cut grass, oregano, and brine. Ali noted "old bowling alley", while Joyce was reminded of "dead fish", and Kristin Amico followed up with "some kind of decomposition". Tasted better than it smelled. Andy felt that it "tastes damp", with Kristin Crane detecting "a too ripe apple", and Kristin Amico adding, "that's starting to ferment". Kristin Amico declared that it "is dead to me" and dammed it as a "prison wine". Some bitterness on the finish. Made from 30% Trebbiano, 30% Grechetto, 20% Chardonnay, and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. One point from Joyce. David's bottle. About $17.
Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino 2012. Smelled more intense, with notions of lemon candy, wax, green herbs, something musty, and green grapes. Andy felt that it "tastes like Sprite", which Kristin clarified as "flat Sprite". Joyce declared that "I don't find this particularly enjoyable". Oily bubble gum notes, ending in a bitter, sour finish. No points. Kristin's bottle. About $17.
JULY 2014: BATTLE OF THE UNUSUAL ITALIAN WHITES #2