Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Rare Grape A New Wine

Is it possible for a wine to be new and salty? Surprisingly yes.There's a different kind of wine hitting oenophile's palates this summer and it's far from the other traditional whites.

Eric Asimov wrote about this refreshing change of pace in his Pour column in yesterday's New York Times Food section. He interviewed wine maker Salvo Foti at his vineyard located in the shadow of the famed Mt. Etna. He grows the rare carricante grapes that have been part of the Sicilian landscape  for millennia. They grow well  in the spongy volcanic soil. that's constantly soaked by endless rainstorms. In fact the Italian bureaucrats have recognized the area's affinity for the variety. In fact the brand Etna Bianco Superiore with 80 percent carricante can only come from the town,The flavor is unique because it has a certain salinity or saltiness Yet they can also be herbal and citrus tasting with a great minerality.. The wines are high in acidity and low in alcohol. They're different from the usual Sicilian whites, such as catarrato which can be bland tasting and low in acidity. Grillo and inzolia grapes can also be used for white wine however winemakers prefer using them for making the vastly popular  sweet, red Marsalas.American winemakers are taking notice of the grape. Californian winemaker, Kevin Harvey of Rhys Vineyards of the Santa Cruz Mountains is interested in growing the  variety.

Mr. Asimov suggests trying other carricante whites. They're not as rich , deep or complex as the Etna Bianco Superiore however they are cheaper ($20 to the other's $50) There is Tenuta delle Terre Nere which is only sixty-five percent carricante blended with four other grapes for a nice alternative.Like the better one, it does taste of herbs and citrus, and is both fresh and refreshing. There is the Outis  made by wine maker, Ciro Biondi whose vineyards are on the island's warmer southeast section,It is fresh and energetic with a fresh, lemony taste. There is also the 2014 vintage single vineyard Chianta Bianco that has a scent like a big basket of flowers. Another carricante based wine is Vigna de Milo which comes from outside the Etna region (and is also made by Signore Foti. Mr. Asimov declared it almost oceanic with great salinity and minerality. There is also Alberto Aiello  Graci's carricante, coming from north Etna which is seventy per cent and has a flavor that's herbal, mineral and sublime.  Carricante wines will probably be more and more popular here in the States as Californian wineries  start growing them,  I can see their novelty appealing to many American oenophiles , thanks to the novel salty taste.

Carricante wine is a different and refreshing alternative to the usual white wine. Try it chilled, this summer. Sip and pretend you're on a Sicilian beach , enjoying the breezes off the Mediterrenean

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