Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Italian Bubbly That's Not Merely Festive

Every now and then, a wine gets lost in the rack. It's not really lost, but it just becomes part of the scenery. You see it every day and say "I need to open that bottle one of these days." The Pa Kettle imitation becomes a routine, done daily without thinking. There's nothing wrong with the wine. It's just as desirable as the day it was purchased, but it never seems to hop out and get into a glass. This nice Italian white sparkler was bought for a Hollywood Bowl concert last summer, but somehow didn't make the trip. So let's finally open it already.

The Monte della Vigne sustainably farmed vineyards run from an elevation of 300 meters down to the Taro River in Parma, I.G.T. Emilia. According to their website, the winery is underground, cool, dry and soundproof.

This frizzante wine is made entirely of Malvasia di Candia aromatica grapes. It's made using the Charmat method, in which the secondary fermentation takes place in a big steel tank, rather than in the bottle. Its alcohol content is only 11.5% abv and it sells around the low side of 20 bucks.

This pale gold Italian sparkler, Malvasia Classica 2013, smells of lovely, yeasty lemons and apples with bubbles to spare. Actually, they dissipate quickly but are very festive while they are there. The palate is so full of fizz, it's almost lighter than air. Acidity is quite good and the yeast carries through in the flavor and finish. After the bubbles die down, a certain funkiness takes hold, which I find fascinating, but some may not. That earthy quality separates the wine from a simpler, but equally festive, prosecco. This one has the bubbles, but it also means business.

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