The "Battle Of The Unusual Italian Whites" was an opportunity to taste some white wines other than the all-too-common Pinot Grigio from Italy. The ones chosen were by no means the only unusual white wines in the marketplace; we could have chosen Vermentino, Pinot Bianco, or Orvieto also. But we only have six seats at the table, and they were a good introduction to the wide world of Italy's whites.
The top wine was also the top value at only $13, and the second place bottle was the most expensive, at a still reasonable $20 (and only one point behind). Both exhibited the most balance of acidity and fruit, without the funky aromas that plagued some of the others.
First Place: Colle Del Sole Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi Classico Superiore. Candied nose of Pez, salt water taffy, cherries, sour patch kids, and creamsicle. No moldiness like some of the others, with more fruit on the palate, suggesting apples and orange peel. Creamy finish. Shows real balance. Received 29 points. Kristin's wine. About $13.
Second Place: Pio Cesare Cortese di Gavi 2008. Clear, almost white in color, and looking "easy to throw back" (Andy R). Smells oily, with hints of chamomile and limestone. A little fizzy. Mouthwatering clementine and stone flavors that finish with lime and flowers. Not too flabby or sharp. Received 28 points. Andy R's wine. About $20.
Third Place: TerraSolaris Falanghina Del Beneventano 2007. Strong aromas of wet sponge and crab rangoon. Tasters noted fungus, slate, mushroom, bad milk, rubber glove, and petroleum scents. Andy P found "protein shake powder". Rubber glove and petroleum notes continued on the palate, along with aged cheese (smoked Gouda), and mushrooms. Soy milk and almonds on the finish. Received 19 points. Malisa's bottle. About $16.
San Quirico Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2007. Overripe fruits and subway scents that reminded Andy P of "a deserted Pier 1 that got moldy". Andy R felt "I need to give it change". Oily, nutty, and smoky on the palate, with pine resin cardboard flavors. Andy R described a "burst at the beginning, and then flatness", while Ali said that "this reminds me of all the things you shouldn't put in your mouth". Received 10 points. Ali's bottle. About $17.
Fallesco Est! Est!! Est!!! ii Montefiascone 2008. Looking almost effervescent, this started off with wet dog, wool coat, Windex, wet pavement, and ammonia scents. David felt that he "could use this to wash my windows". Tart and out of balance, with only some modest flavor showing up on the finish. Andy R decided it had a "nine volt aftertaste". Received 4 points. David's wine. About $10.
Guidobono Arneis 2006 (Langhe). Heavy scents that are reminiscent of sour cream, yogurt, onion dip, and Ajax. Tasters had universally negative things to say about this one, such as, "dirty janitor" (Ali), "earwax, and toenail" (Andy R), "the aftertaste is something you shouldn't have eaten" (Andy P), and "durian of the wine world" (David). Malt on the finish. No points. Andy P's wine. About $16.
Marquis Philips Shiraz 9 2003 (McLaren Vale / Padthaway). Tasters were reminded of slate, hoisin sauce, plums, black cherries, buttered corn on the cob, and grilled meat. Cream and smoke on the palate, with charred oak, cinnamon, and hot spices on the finish. A rich, complex wine. About $40.
SEPTEMBER 2009: BATTLE OF THE UNUSUAL ITALIAN WHITES