Monday, November 11, 2013

Italian Wine: Walch Pinot Bianco

Denise and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary the way like to celebrate - a nice meal in a nice place featuring the things we like best.  It doesn’t always mean expensive, and it hardly ever means fancy - we like our dining and our food to be simple and delicious.

We get a craving for cheese every now and then, and one of our favorite places for a fantastic cheese plate is Cube.  Cheese and more are on the menu - they are feeding the current frenzy for fried chicken in L.A. - and they have a wine selection that has never failed to exceed expectations without putting undue stress on the bank account.  They specialize in Italian wines, as suggested by the “What’s up D.O.C.?” sign above their La Brea Avenue location.  We love supporting Cube and we would be terribly disappointed if it suddenly were not there.

A mess of cheese and meats from all over the world were ordered to be brought on the slate platter, and an extremely nice Pinot Bianco from Italy’s Alto Adige region got my attention.  Wines from this part of northern Italy always get my attention.

Elena Walch took over the wine estates of the family into which she married - kind of makes it sound like a coup, doesn’t it?  Well, if the family isn’t happy with the job she has done, I don’t know what’s wrong with them.  She has instituted sustainability measures at her vineyards which encompass biology, society and economics - which she calls the “triangle of sustainability.”

The Elena Walch Kastelaz Pinot Bianco is a single vineyard wine - the Kastelaz vineyard - that sells for around $20 online, making the $10 by-the-glass price seems downright courteous.Two-thirds of the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, while a third is treated to new French oak, and aged there for five months after fermentation.

The color of this wine is simply stunning - a beautiful, golden tint with copper and green highlights throughout.  A wonderfully savory aspect is apparent on both the nose and palate.  Aromas of smoke and minerals join the smell of apples while the flavors of savory nuts and wet rocks are lifted by a fantastic acidity.  It worked with all the cheeses on the platter, but it took on a transcendent quality with the Swiss cheese from Hoch-Ybrig.

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