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2 Old-World Whites

March 31, 2008

35386.jpgHofer Gruner Veltliner, Frieberg 2005:

Very light straw color. Very aromatically complex and expressive nose; mercurial transitions through apple skin, some cherry, lime, white peach, bok choy, haricot verts, toasted bread, and gravel. Characteristic aromas of Old-world Rieslings, Chenin Blancs, and Sauv Blancs all seem to pop in and out of focus. Bone dry, with such an intense mineral-water/saline character it’s almost obnoxious. The finish is just a gravelly landslide that smooths out over a minute. Refreshing; begging for the next sip. This could stand up to hard-to-pair foods like Mexican and Japanese. For terroir-hounds like myself, this is a revelation – so much of the vineyard and the vintage is there to discover and taste. Fans of Sancerre, Poully-Fume, and  dry Rieslings owe themselfves a taste of this value monster.

155383.jpgCuratolo Grillo Tumoli, Sicilia 2006:

A little tighter on the nose, showing mysterious floral, citrus and peach-pit notes. Big, on the palate, but with a great linearity and focus. Clean and fresh. Acidity is very balanced – not sour but punchy enough to give structure and direction. Overall the fruit is restrained (it’s there, but not centerstage), but there is a great underlying river-rocks-and-flowers foundation that makes the wine real. Grilled shrimp or squid would love this.

Both can be found under $14US with little hunting . To my tastes, the Hofer had the edge (mainly in aromatics and overall complexity), but I feel more people might enjoy the Grillo as a patio-pounder-eay-drinking-weeknight-white.

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