As you may know from my previous posting, I'm becoming a fast friend of the wines of Abruzzo, the mountainous region in central Italy that lies east of Rome. It provides excellent values in red wines, but during a recent lunch, I discovered that the Abruzzi whites can offer high quality as well.
I was dining with a friend at one of my favorite restaurants near our office in Manhattan, A Voce. My friend is looking for a way to channel her love of wine into a second career and wanted to get my advice. Her previous career had been working for Merrill Lynch, so she is obviously open to major changes. We talked for a while, and I told her that the best way is to get in on the ground floor in sales at a good restaurant or wine shop.
The eyes of A Voce sommelier Olivier Flosse lit up when I told him of my friend's desire. And my eyes lit up when he offered a white for just $25 a bottle to go with our lunch. It was a Trebbiano d'Abruzzo called Zarachè from Vini Pasetti. I was totally ignorant of Abruzzi whites, but at $25 I couldn't resist. My friend and I were well rewarded with a rich and creamy white, filled with glazed citrus and hints of peach (and just 13.5 percent alcohol). I rated it 90 points, non-blind.
According to my subsequent research, I learned that this white is not actually made from Trebbiano but from a grape called Bombino. The grapes are grown at about 1,800 feet in the Pescosansonesco district and are hand-picked. Fermentation and aging were done in stainless steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation. It's true to the taste of Abruzzo's flavorful whites. I can't wait to visit this region someday.