Why aren’t Irish drinkers more fired up about Italian white wines? All sorts of interesting examples from the length and breadth of the country are unjustly overlooked while consumers zero in on Pinot Grigio – most of it deadly dull. Take a small step in the right direction and try this tasty organic white from Sicily, one of the Mediterranean islands whose wines are being taken more seriously because sea breezes promote fresh flavours despite global warming.
Ciello Bianco is made entirely from Catarratto, a grape once widely used for the production of Sicily’s sweet wine Marsala. You’ll find it quite rich in colour and taste – peach, lemon, orange and almond notes unfold on the palate – yet it’s wonderfully zesty at the same time with a firm, dry finish.
Besides adopting an organic approach to their 100 hectares of vineyards high above Alcamo, the Vesco family who took over Cantina Rallo ten years ago favour natural winemaking techniques, so Ciello Bianco is unfined and unfiltered.
Ciello Bianco, Terre Siciliane, Cantina Rallo 2017
This is the kind of wine you can open before a meal to serve as an aperitif and keep on drinking. It will go with just about anything except red meats and has a robust enough personality to stand up well to punchy flavours – something to bear in mind if you’re experimenting with the gutsy vegetarian dishes that are so popular right now. It will also combine happily with more classic versions of fish, chicken, pork or veal.
And look at the price! More than decent for a well made organic wine that offers so much.
From Avoca outlets; Fallon & Byrne, Dublin 2; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6W; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, Co Dublin; Bradleys, Cork; World Wide Wines, Waterford; Le Caveau, Kilkenny and lecaveau.ie, usually €12.95.
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