I love it when I’m blindsided by a wine that’s so unexpectedly GOOD and sells for a really cheap price. Believe me, it doesn’t happen very often. I usually find myself at a tasting, hunched over a glass of something that’s depressingly formulaic, outsized, AND expensive; the “Special Reserve” from hell, if you will. Not so this week—instead we have an oddball white varietal blend from a place that most people associate with red wine. In actuality, more white is consumed by the locals, which makes perfect sense given the bounties from the sea they are blessed with.
Feudo di Santa Tresa is an organically certified winery located in the southeast corner of Sicily. I wrote last year about their luscious Frappato, dubbing it “Vittoria’s Secret”. The heat-relief provided by the Mediterranean, the sandy white soils (rina ianca); these factors are in play here just as they are for the Frappato, and that is important. As one might suspect, it gets pretty frickin’ hot in this neck of the woods. The cooling sea breezes teamed up with some judicious canopy management help preserve balancing acidity in the grapes, counteracting the perfumed weight that can sometimes feel like a wet blanket when trying to broach a goblet of Viognier.
So, how does it coalesce, this unlikely union of the native Sicilian and the French interloper? On the nose the Viognier is dominant, contributing rich aromas of apricot and peach. The Grillo chimes in with some herbal and vanilla overtones (the result of a small portion that sees 3 months in barrique), then takes over on the palate with a show of juicy, cleansing acidity and an intriguing finish of peppery spice. The winery’s website suggests a matching dish of Spaghetti alle Vongole (spaghetti with clams). It’s hard to argue with that but I found it easier to bake a piece of flounder, plate it with some sweet corn and summer squash, and then linger over some good family conversation for a half hour. I can also see lots of this being drained all by its lonesome.
THE RINA IANCA USED TO SELL FOR $15. WITH THE SAGGING FORTUNES OF THE EURO, AND SOME SHREWD PURCHASING BY YOURS TRULY, WE NOW OFFER IT AT $9.99. BUY IT THIS WEEK AND PAY JUST $7.99 PER BOTTLE. SAVE EVEN MORE BY THE CASE: 12 BOTTLES FOR JUST $89.99.