Wine Review – 2006 La Viarte Pinot Bianco, Friuli, Italy

laviarte_pbiancoWinery: Azienda Agricola La Viarte

Bottling: 2005 Pinot Bianco D.O.C. Colli Orientali del Friuli

Region: Italy

Sub-Region: Friuli

Estimated Retail Price: $16

Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Purchased by the glass at Tartine Bakery & Cafe in San Francisco.  Gulped this down with a large panini of quince jam (membrillo) and Idiazabal (cheese).

Tasting Notes: This wine was a very pleasant surprise since I hadn’t planned on ordering some wine during lunch and also for the fact that it was just plain, darn delicious.

On the nose it was hard to pick up any aromas, since the wine was a little too cold in my opinion.  Let’s just say it smelled like an Italian white wine; dry, minerally, lemony, and winey.

In the mouth it was a different story.  Very herb and mineral driven in the front end.  Tarragon and rosemary were the flavors I was picking up in addition to the lemon rind and pith fruit flavors.

The finish is where it got interesting.  The wine went through the dry, palate cleansing stage Italian whites are known for in the initial sip.  Towards the finish though, the wine fleshed out nicely and ended with a pleasant and creamy mouth-feel.  Totally unexpected.  From there, I just couldn’t stop gulping down the wine.

I had to catch a flight in a couple of hours, so I held back in ordering another glass.

Food and Context in Which to Enjoy: With all the oil, butter and cheese in the panini, there was no shortage of fat to help make this such a rich dish for a simple sandwich.  The wine was the perfect accompaniment to the meal, which helped cleanse my mouth of all the heaviness and richness imparted by the panini.

Although my food was very rustic, the wine skewed more towards refinement and would likely be better served as a wine pairing in a more formal setting.  Don’t let what I said though, stop you from enjoying this with anything rough and rustic.  The wine has enough flexibility to go either way.

Winery Background: I’ve never heard of this winery before, so my experience and knowledge with the estate is limited to the fact that it is a wine imported by Kermit Lynch.  Relative to Italian winemaking tradition, the family has only been making wine for a short time – since the 1980s.  They employ a combination of modern (steel tanks) and traditional (oak barrels) techniques when crafting their wines.  I’ll surely be looking out for their other offerings now that they are on my radar.


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