From the Vias tasting

I hope I learned my lesson and will eat a big lunch before the next round of tastings. Even though I spit all the wine, some of the alcohol still gets through and it’s easy after a half hour to feel the wine. Which makes it harder to pay attention and makes the long line of wine still to get through look even longer. Eat big meals before wine tasting people!

Some of the wines at the tasting I found interesting were from Sicily and Sardinia (or as Vias puts it “Sicilia” and “Sardegna.”

From Sicily were the De Bartoli Grappoli del Grillo and the Pietra Nera both from the 2007 vintage. Both whites were capped with glass corks — a novelty tableside, but the outer packaging is very awkward to open.

The Grappoli de Grillo, made from 100 percent grillo smelled great and on the palate was rich, spicy, with high acid and long. But it was not delicious. The Pietra Nera was. Made from 100 percent zibibbo, it was sweet on the nose, peppery on the palate with an extremely long spicy finish.

But wait! Zibibbo?

From the OCW:

Sicilian name for the muscat of alexandria white grape variety, sometimes made into wine, notably Moscato di pantelleria, although more usually sold as table grapes. It is very much less common in Italy than Moscato Bianco (muscat blanc à petits grains).

The Pietra Nera come from grapes grown on the island of Pantelleria, an island 62 miles off the coast of Sicily and 43 miles from Tunisia. That involves some shipping considerations. The island has volcanic soil.

De Bartoli also makes Sardinia’s most famous wine, Marsala, the base of which is usually the grillo grape.

From the OCW:

Sicilian white grape variety once used as the base for the best Marsala. Grown on bush vines, it produced potent, full-bodied base wines that were supplemented by a proportion of the more aromatic Inzolia. Grillo’s decline has mirrored that of Marsala, and it has been replaced in many vineyards by the more vigorous Catarratto. At its best, it gives full-bodied wines of real interest, although they lack the aromatic intensity that has made Inzolia’s transformation from fortified to dry white wine variety so much easier. See Sicilia for more details.

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