Wednesday, May 27, 2020

White Wine From Northern Italy

White wines are a tricky business.  They can rock one's world with salinity, minerality and acidity or they can lay flaccid in the glass while showering the rim with sweet floral notes.  I want a white wine with some meat on its bones, some heft, some gravitas, some raison d’être.  I want a white wine to drink like a red.

When I want a white wine with guts, I always look toward northern Italy.  Often I end up with a wine from Alto Adige, but this time it was Piedmonte.  Through the kindness of Tenuta Montemagno I have sampled their Solis Vis wine, made from 100% Timorasso grapes in the Monferrato region.  It is the area's indigenous variety, an ancient vine which was rediscovered in the 1980s after nearly disappearing.  

Tenuta Montemagno lies in gently-rolling hills along the 45th parallel, a latitude known for wine grapes.  Maps found in the Montemagno council hall  show wine being produced on the Tenuta property as early as the 16th century.  This wine clocks in at an alcohol level of 14% abv and it sells for about $15.  It amazes me that a wine this good sells for such a great price.

The wine's name - Solis Vis - is from Latin, meaning "the sun’s  strength."  The white wine is a pale straw yellow in the glass.  Its nose gives off a wonderful salinity, with lime and minerals aplenty.  The acidity is better than fine and the palate has citrus, apricots and peaches bursting forth.  I'm always a sucker for any Italian white wine not named Grigio, and this one does nothing to dissuade me.



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