As a by-product of my rather leisurely search for a new Nero d'Avola, we have been acquiring a few white samples as well as reds from Sicily, and we decided to set the whites apart and taste those first. The wines were
1 a Catarratto/Chardonnay brought in by one of our customers;
2 a pure Catarratto and
3 a pure Grillo from Feudo Montoni;
4 a pure Grillo, "Stupor Mundi" and
5 a pure Catarratto, "Alqamah" from Feudi Imperiali, whose representatives called to our English Market shop, and later to our offices with the samples.
It would be useful to have a few more white wines from Italy or Sicily on our list, and - subject to the outcome of the Nero d'Avola tasting to come, perhaps we have some likely candidates.
Irrespective of the alcohol volume quoted on the bottle, these are wines that, by comparison with many on our shelves, will cheerfully and unhesitatingly give you a thump in the face if you so much as look in their direction. With the exception of 1, which was too old to impress (taking no account of an unlovely label), there is a combination of concentration, acidity and a maritime tang about these wines that makes their style very distinctive in terms of Bubble Brothers' range. The closest comparison I can possibly make is to the Cortese "Balera" that we buy from the Icardis in Piedmont, if you've ever tried that: powerful, lemony, hay-smelling.
These were wines that called out for something in the blazing sunshine, glinting waves, seafood, garlic, seared meat, olive-oil and lemon line. They pierced and tingled in a way that was altogether larger than life as we know it in the Bubble Brothers office.
The Feudo Montoni wines, 2and 3, recently appreciated by Decanter and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar in New York, carried the majority verdict as being well-made, coherent and confident to a significantly greater degree than those of Feudi Imperiali The clean lines of the Feudo Montoni bottles' presentation seemed more likely to find favour, too, than the dark, hefty bottles and portentous names of 4 and 5 the competition.
Thank you to all those who contributed samples. We look forward to the imminent investigation of the reds. In the mean time, don't forget that you can currently enjoy the big, red, volcanic Etna Rosso DOC from our Marsala suppliers, Frazzitta, at an irresistible price.