Italy is most famous for its red wines, but what about their whites?
Italian white wines may not be nearly so well recognised, but if you overlook them you could be missing out on a treat.
I’m from New Zealand, the undisputed home of the world’s finest Sauvignon Blanc. We took the French grape and made it our own – making the very most of the stony soil and temperate climate of (mostly) the northern tip of the South Island to create a light, dry wine bursting with tropical fruit top-notes of passionfruit, lime and guava.
Italy also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, but the different growing conditions and a longer ageing process gives it a deeper flavour (personally, I’ve found the Italian Pinot Grigio to be more like New Zealand’s version).
Being a Sauvignon stalwart, I was curious to try something a bit different. On the recommendation of Elvira, co-founder and CEO of Independent Wine and connoisseur of Italian white wines, I tried the Malvira Treuve.
Treuve comes from ‘tre uve’ which, directly translated, means ‘three grapes’. So this wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Arneis.
It is also a wine that has earned the classification ‘DOC’ (denominazione di origine controllata, or designation of controlled origin), which means it has met strict production and quality requirements.
Malvirà is the most influential producer in Roero – a wine making region on Piedmont. Their winery is organic and carbon neutral, it’s actually located deep underground and harnesses geothermal energy for their heating and cooling systems.
All very well, but how did it taste?
This wine is both fermented and aged in oak, then matured further in the bottle, giving it a smooth, fuller taste.
To my tastebuds, the oak ageing was very prominent – possibly a tiny bit too much for my personal taste, as I don’t like my wine to have a strong finish (the final taste left in your mouth after each sip), but if you like Chardonnay, you’ll absolutely love the oaky blend of this grape with the light fruitiness of the Sauvignon, and the heavier fruit taste of the Arneis.
I polished this off on a rainy lockdown weekend, teamed with some gorgeous Fortnum & Mason cheddar and fig jam on crackers.
If you’re not sure which Italian wine to choose, the team at Independent Wine have a wealth of information on their website, and are always happy to advise you on your next favourite tipple.
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• photo courtesy of Celina Albertz, Unsplash