Eyes: clear, water white with peachy tingeNose: clean, low to med- intensity, youthful to developing, vanilla, spice, floral, subtle woodiness, appleMouth: dry, med body, med- to med acid, med+ alcohol, med- intensity, med- length, bitter citrus rindAll in all: Good quality; drink now.
A clear, almost colourless wine. I wasn’t sure whether or not the hint of peachiness in the wine was due to the red stains in the wine glasses we were using or because of some strangely coloured grape. Like Gewurztraminer.
The nose was weird. I captured little to no fruit – just an ethanol-like spice, a slight neutral vanilla fruitiness, and neutral wood. Further smelling revealed a flutter of apples and more notably, nuts. Vague floral notes. Not aromatic. A generally restrained character, and I determined that it was Old World – no doubt that this wouldn’t be from the realm of the New. Two colleagues guessed Chenin – notes of wet wool and river stones were mentioned.
Grüner, is that you? Maybe. Not enough acidity or life. Grüner is like that talkative friend. This wine is pretty closed.
Similar on the palate: restrained yet round, but not oily. A mineral and a subtle tongue-coating citrus pith flavour almost cancels out the medium acidity, but isn’t cloying because there’s not much to cloy, except a slight alcohol warmth. The alcohol is not low.
By no means did this wine seem anything that fit the diverse French moulds, nor the aromatic whites of Spain and Germany. Despite the lack in crispness, Italy seemed to be the one, with the all-neutral everything. Apparently correct.
Looking back at my grape chart, guesses of Fiano or Falanghina (whatever the hell that is) probably would’ve been the closest (due to mere descriptions). My guesses started with Arneis, then trailed on to Vermentino, Verdicchio, Pinot Grigio, Trebbiano, and then from there I attempted to just name all the white Italian grapes I knew. Chardonnay-like, even.
Who’d’ve thunk that this would be a Sangiovese (a red grape) without the red?! Crazy. Nerdy, even. Weird, especially because red Sangiovese typically has an undeniable aromatic savoury cherry character. Skins are important! Push down those grape skins. Pump them over. Oh, yes.
It’s funny, because I always jokingly guess white Sangiovese whenever I’m blinded with a white, but this is the one time it took me forever to get it.
I’ve had this wine be described to me before: memorable descriptions of red fruit have me believe that this wine is at it’s peak or over the hill (or that the taster might’ve been primed to pick up red fruit). If I was blindfolded, I’m pretty sure it would’ve been hard for me to guess the colour of the wine. In this wine, secondary characteristics reign!
If this wine isn’t weird to you, it should be. Sangiovese without the red is sort of like a hot dog without the bun, a pizza without tomato sauce, or a college party without alcohol. Doable. Tricky. Atypical.
Interesting? Assolutamente. Worth it? Maybe a year or so ago. Elegant and inoffensive at best.
Producer: Fattoria Colmone della Marca
Designation: Bianco del Moro
Variety: Sangiovese (without red pigment extraction)
Tasted: February 23, 2013
Price: $38 (Liberty)
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