Wednesday, March 20, 2024

White Tuscan Wine Two Ways

If you have never heard of the Pomino Bianco DOC in Italy's Tuscany region, you should get acquainted now. Then you'll be ready for spring and summer with a white wine that'll knock everyone's socks off. Of course, if the weather is warm enough, they may be off already.

The two wines I was given the opportunity to sample are from Frescobaldi. They note that the Pomino Bianco DOC is one of the areas of Tuscany most suited to white wine production. Altitudes reach 2300 feet up against the Apennine Mountains, and those lofty vines produce highly refined and elegant white wine blends.

The Frescobaldi 2022 Pomino Bianco is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, with splashes of the region's complimentary grapes. The wine was aged partly in oak, partly in steel, which allows complexity while maintaining freshness. 

The 2022 vintage was a long one, with an early budbreak and summertime temperatures starting in May. Alcohol sits at 12.5% abv and the retail sticker reads $21. 

This wine has a light golden tint to it. The nose is fully aromatic with minerals, white fruit and a salinity that runs through the entire experience. The palate is chock full of minerals, too, along with green apple and light citrus notes. The acidity is fresh and lively while a slight trace of oak adds depth. The finish is medium long and highlights the grapefruit aspect of the palate. 

The Frescobaldi Benefizio 2021 Pomino Bianco Riserva is a Chardonnay that was aged completely in French oak barrels. When it was first produced, in 1973, it was the first white wine in Italy to be fermented and aged in barriques. The wood is 50% new and 50% second use. Alcohol is a bit higher than the previous wine, clocking in at 13.5% abv. The list price is $35.

This wine also has a nice yellow tint and a nose that shows the restrained use of oak. The aromas also have an earthy salinity about them, with a fruity undercurrent draped in apple, almond and dried apricot notes. On the palate, there is a more noticeable oak effect, but still within reason. The mouthfeel is full, while the acidity is bracing. It is a savory wine which brings the fruit almost apologetically. Delicious, and a great match for dishes from seafood to chicken to pork. Anything with a creamy sauce will pair beautifully with the Benefizio Riserva. 

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