A recent Saturday night found my friends and I waiting for a table at Bianca, a small Italian restaurant in Manhattan that’s always packed with NYU students enjoying the well-priced menu and wine list. It also serves some of the most reliably delicious Tagliatelle Bolognese I’ve had outside of Italy, so although Bianca doesn’t take reservations, I always return.
The bar next door serves as the restaurant’s holding pen for hungry diners, and our group of five quickly ensconced ourselves at a table to sit out our 45-minute wait over a bottle of wine. The bar’s selection was limited, so I went with the Antonin Rodet Mâcon-Villages 2006, a bit worried that this wine might be past its prime. Some wines from Burgundy’s Mâcon region age beautifully, but I think of many of them as wines to be drunk soon after release, and the current vintage is 2009.
However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much this $34 Chardonnay had to offer. The wine was still very fresh, but harmonious and easy to drink. It showed a range of straw, citrus, stone and honey flavors that were very appealing, and I rated it 88 points, non-blind.
Unfortunately, the 45-minute estimate dragged to almost 90 minutes! But our group still deemed the restaurant to be worth the wait (and a second bottle of Rodet), and once seated, we quickly ordered appetizers and a couple bottles of Falesco Vitiano 2009. From Italy’s Umbria region, the Vitiano is a go-to value red for me; it retails for around $12 and was on Bianca’s list for $24. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese is medium-bodied and juicy, with currant, plum and cherry flavors, and a nice smoky baseline. It’s a crowd-pleaser and pairs well with a range of food. I rated the 2009 at 89 points, non-blind. With good wine and good company, time always flies.