Getting a Taste of Italy, Bargain-Style

The Back Story:

I set out a couple weeks ago with a mission in mind: to taste a new grape and spend as little as possible doing it. My destination, then, was A Southern Season, a gargantuan gourmet shop that has everything from a cheese bar to a Belgian beer section. They’ve also got a decent-sized wine section with particular emphasis on European wines.

After several minutes of wandering back and forth in the French section, enjoying the fact that I have experienced enough in French wine that I now can actually recognize wine labels from different vintners, growing regions, etc., I moved into the Italian section, renewing my focus on finding a new varietal under $10. Unfortunately, I left the store without fulfilling my quest. Not because they didn’t have one, no, but because I got distracted by a sale sticker. The sticker happened to be attached to a 2007 Vecchia Torre Leverano Bianco. The Bianco is a blend, 80% Malvasia Bianca and 20% Chardonnay. That’s basically all I knew going in, but to me, the mystery is part of what makes tasting a wine so exciting.

The Results:

The appearance of the wine was pretty average. The viscosity was fairly high, with a bright yellow color, slightly green, and the swirl suggested a good texture.

The nose of the wine was particularly fruity, exotic, primarily ripe tropical fruits. There was something off, though, giving a tinge of what smelled like vinyl. It wasn’t altogether unpleasant, but it didn’t quite jibe.

The mouth feel of the wine was good but nothing special. It was a little syrupy, but it balanced nicely with a high acidity.

The taste of the wine mimicked the nose, offering mostly tropical fruits. First, mango and apricot flavors co-mingled with a pretty decent tartness, slightly dry. There was an odd flavor that I couldn’t peg at first, and I finally settled on green beans. A little out of left field, but whatever. The short finish was a dry, overly ripe banana. Overall, it was standard fare for a white and rather simple.

For the Casual Drinker:

This would be a fantastic wine for a dinner party or any other group of varied tastes and interests. It’s a fairly neutral wine, not too sweet or dry, not too exotic, with a very agreeable flavor and texture. The simplicity makes it suitable for many palates, and it would pair with a variety of lighter foods as long as the flavors weren’t too overpowering. It’s also affordable, which is always good.

The Conclusion:

Though there’s nothing really to knock about this wine, it’s also fairly forgettable. Simple flavor, short finish, about what you’d expect for 9 bucks. You won’t regret buying this wine, but you might not go back for a second bottle. 5/10

I also picked up the Vecchia Torre Leverano Rosato. How good was that one? Stay tuned… but I will say that, coincidentally or not, I’ve bought 7 bottles of it in the past 2 weeks.

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