How about three unusual white wines? They are all different and with very interesting details. One will make you happy, one will make you cry, and the other will amaze and mystify you. So let’s start first with closures. I have written before about how much I dislike the synthetic corks that are so hard to get out of the bottle – so much for that. But, in this case, we have a different set of circumstances. One wine has a special screw cap and a lot of other stuff including one of the most complicated blends of different grapes anyone could possibly imagine or not. One wine has a cork that seems to have been made from an out of this world material but the wine is decidedly not out of this world. And, one wine has a special glass closure, a beautiful bottle and presentation, and an intriguing blend of two grapes in the wine that really sing. So, without further adieu, may I submit for your consideration as the best unusual white wine and the white wine with the best closure, the following trio of candidates:
1. From Italy, checking in at $13.99, 2008 Falanghina Feudi di San Gregorio.
This rather obscure bottle does not have a special closure. It has something that seems like a cork, but something that also likes to eat cork screws. It set a world record for me in that I lost two cork screws trying to get the thing out.
Finally, with no more room left to attempt to insert yet a third corkscrew and unable to extract the “cork,” I broke the damn bottle. It was a fruitless exercise, since what was inside was worth not even a twist, not to mention 15 minutes of sheer hell!
2. Also from Italy, checking in at $12.98, 2010 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia Bianco Veneto.
When was the last time you did the Garganeja? Well, I have news for you, it can be a lot of fun, but you should drink it. It is, after all, the 6th most widely planted grape variety in Italy. But, of course, you knew that! This wine is Garganeja in a blend with Chardonnay and comes from the Veneto region of North East Italy. The package is gorgeous with clear glass with clear labels affixed in a most artistic and pleasing manner. This is no Big House. This is real class. And the wine, appropriately enough given its heritage, has a glass stopper. But, it is a glass stopper under a decorative foil. It is as practical as it is beautiful and certainly will attract many admirers. First, you gaze at it. Then you gently lift the glass stopper with the foil attached. It’s as easy as that. All is left is to pour the wine in your glass, pretend you are floating in the canals of Venice, take a deep whiff of the perfume and sip. It’s really easy. The sip will turn into a drink and now you are doing the Garganeja with a Chardonnay twist. And, it’s even better if you have a partner! Ah, Ecstacy! There’s nothing like it!
3. From California, checking in at $6.99, 2010 Big House White.
Here you can almost hear the click of chains and iron doors, but in the background there is a decided noise that the back label attempts to navigate you through. But, it’s not so easy. You see, it’s written in a script that looks a bit like a cross between kindergarten scratching, Sanskrit, and ancient cave drawings! Or maybe it was just composed by someone late at night in a dark, cold cell after drinking a gallon or so of the Big House White? Oh well, for better or worse, here is what I think it says, remembering that I, like the author, am no linguist: “Yedda, yedda, yedda. Warden break out of the confines of stuffy tradition with the StelVin TM, an unrepently practical closure by a long stretch. Cagney or Robinson would never deem it a dirty screw. You, the Big House White is an extremely elegant, diverse blend. V12, Malvasia Bianca, Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Chenin Blanc, and Viognier. It more than Sing-Sings for its supper.” So don’t blame me for the above. Get a bottle and you can try to read it. And, good luck! But, I guess you would have to say that this translates into something like: The special closure assures that you won’t get screwed with a bad cork. And, with what has to be a world record number of grapes in the blend, no one will be able to guess what they are drinking no matter how much they drink!
1. THE AGONY
Whew, what an ordeal!
2008 Falanghina Feudi di San Gregorio
After finally getting to the wine inside the bottle I found that it has a light yellow color and a very faint perfume. It is very light and delicate with subdued fruit and flavor. In reality there just wasn’t much to it. Maybe the wine was mad because of what I did to its house? But if you can’t get the door open what are you to do? Palm Bay International, Baco Raton, FL $13.99
2. THE ECSTACY
Ah, this is what makes everything worthwhile!
2010 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia Bianco Veneto
Here is a beautiful wine in a lovely user friendly package. The wine is pale yellow in color and has a gorgeous perfume with hints of spice, minerals, citrus and almond with a faint floral, smoky nuance. There is lovely supple floral tinged fruit with faint hints of herbs and exotic spice on the palate. The wine is balanced with great style and finesse and is very easy to love – Outstanding. Tenuta Sant’Antonio USA, Napa, CA $12.98 Best Buy
3. THE MYSTERY
And then there is the mystery of the Big House! Here’s what’s inside.
2010 Big House White California
Light yellow in color the nose shows a faint tinge of citrus and tropical fruit. On the palate the wine has very nice fruit in a lighter style with floral citrus notes and a nice crisp finish. It’s light and tasty. I would say the Big House could be Light House. And, it’s easy to break out given the user friendly closure. In fact, the boys at Sing Sing may be thinking of the ghosts of Alcatraz where the Big House meets Light House in the jail break - Recommended Plus. $6.99 Best Buy (there’s at least a few bucks of fun in the price!)
In Vino Veritas,