Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Trebbiano: Beyond Hamburger Helper
“A typical tasting note on a varietal Trebbiano is characterized by its brevity: pale lemon, little nose, notably high acid, medium alcohol and body, short. And that, I'm afraid, is it.” That's Jancis Robinson, from Vines, Grapes, and Wine. I often refer to Trebbiano as “The Hamburger Helper of Italian white wine,” since it shows up in some proportion in wines made all over Italy, from Soave in the north to Sicily in the south. I can think of one producer who made “serious” wine from the grape, and that was the late Gianni Masciarelli, whose Marina Cvetić Trebbiano d'Abruzzo can still be obtained, as long as you're willing to shell out $60 for Trebbiano. I'm not.
But I willingly parted with $12.99 to taste a Trebbiano-heavy blend from the distinguished Giuseppe Mazzocolin, winemaker at Fattoria di Fèlsina, who made his name producing some exceptionally fine Chianti Classico. Fèlsina is based in Castelnuovo Berardenga, a lovely village that will forever have a good association for me, since back in the day it was the only lovely village outside of Siena that had an ATM.
Pepestrino 2009 IGT Toscana: This was made from 70% trebbiano toscano, 15% chardonnay, and 15% sauvignon blanc. The grapes are from the Pagliarese vineyard at the northernmost end of the Fèlsina property. On the nose: roses, lavender, grass, hint of melon. On the palate: pear, citrus, tropical fruit, hint of hazelnut, very soft, with an impression of richness. Hint of cinnamon spice on the finish. This provided a very nice change-up from my recent obsessive consumption of Muscadet and similar briny, mineral-driven wines. I admit to being somewhat startled to find this wine reviewed by the Wine Advocate (87 points); I guess the Fèlsina label gives it visibility and respectability. Erin at the Asheville Wine Market gave us the steer on this one.