Archive for August, 2008

Feudo Arancio Grillo

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

OK, I’ve got to either get serious about this blogging thing or drop it entirely for now – if I’m going to have one on the site, the least I can do is prevent it from gathering dust. (Plus, friends are starting to give me grief about the virtual tumbleweeds rolling by.) So, from now on there will be a post at least once a week, if not more.

Aimee & I took home the ‘06 Feudo Arancio Grillo from Sicily the other night, and it was delicious (way more complex than I had remembered from past vintages, actually). Grillo is an ancient indigenous variety that’s been around for thousands of years; it was the primary grape of one of Julius Caesar’s favorite wines, the original Mamertina. In recent centuries, it’s best known as the main grape in Marsala, the fortified wine of western Sicily. Sicily’s pretty much the only place where it’s grown, and I’ve only had a few table wines made from it. Its main claim to fame is that it can withstand hot climates and still keep its acidity and freshness; it’s got some nice tropical fruit as well.

I’ve been following Arancio for a few years – back in a former career doing wine PR, Prestige Wine Imports, who brings in Arancio, was one of our clients and I took Arancio’s young winemaker, Calogero Statella, around the country on a press trip. I’ve always thought they were a good value, but as I mentioned above, this vintage way overdelivers on quality. Arancio has a lot of money behind it (it’s owned by the Mezzacorona grou) and they’ve invested heavily in vineyards and production (check out their Web site at www.feudoarancio.it for some great pictures and interesting info on their progressive environmental practices), which shows in the wine.

This Grillo has a rich phenolic texture that I don’t remember from past years – almost like a Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc – that gives it richness and depth, but with more of a pineapply fruit profile than the Pinot varietals. Medium body weight, nice acidity and crispness, and that earthy minerality on the finish that’s so common to Southern Italian whites. We had it on its own sitting on our balcony (until it got too windy and then we went inside and opened the windows and pretended we were still on the balcony), but it’d work well with food, too; grilled fish comes to mind. Overall, I think it’s a steal at $8.50. We also carry the Nero d’Avola (same price), but that’s for another post….