Melini Orvieto Classico DOC 2012

by Amy

Last week we featured an Italian red.

Fact: if I'm going to go for a red, it's usually going to be an Italian. Like my men. That's how I roll.

Now let's talk about the other side of the coin: Italian whites.

Specifically, Orvieto.

Once upon a time, a little town called Orvieto was founded in the middle of Italy—in a place known today as Umbria—by Etruscans.

Etruscans = before Romans = a very long time ago

Italians have been making the Orvieto blend for a long time, and Umbria's hilly climate, along with cellars cut into stone hills, made a wonderful place to make wine. With a nice, long, cool fermentation, Orvieto was known as a sweet blend for many moons. But just like sock hops and poodle skirts, in the 1960s and 1970s sweet wines went from de rigueur to don't please don't, and dry whites became all the rage. Thus the Orvieto blend got a changeup of grapes, its majority makeup going from the sweet Grechetto grape of yore to Trebbiano Toscano, catapulting the blend onto the dry spectrum, where it has remained ever since.

Wines. Pop music. Hemlines. They all vary with time, don't they?

This week, I got to try the Melini vineyard's Orvieto Classico 2012. 
 

If you like Chardonnay, I think you're going to like this.

Tasting Notes

You can tell by its robust nose and golden straw color that this one's got a bit more body. This white's pretty dry, though gets sweeter the more you put away. Creamy with a touch of alcohol, the wine carries notes cantaloupe and apple blossom, along with a crisp, long finish.

Price Point

This one's super affordable, folks: you can find it here for $7.99.

Pairings

This should go nicely with a rich, creamy pasta (alfredo! carbonara! tortellini!), shellfish, goat cheese, or even prosciutto with melon.

P.S. for the history nerds: this vineyard has been around since 1705. And its founder, Adolpho Laborel Melini, used pasteurization in his winemaking 33 years before Louis Pasteur wrote about the process. What!

Sutter Home Pinot Grigio

by Amy

Whether you want to or not, sometimes you have to follow directions.

For those of us who are rock-solid stubborn, this is a hard realization to come to. But the sooner you accept this, the happier you'll be. Because sometimes things aren't built according to your preferences and the way your brain works. Sometimes you have to meet things halfway in order to have an optimal experience.

This phenomenon is why I.T. professionals characterize 90% of the service calls they receive as PICNIC: Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.

In other words you, the human, are responsible for the problems you're having—not the computer. Your real problem is that you've forced a piece of machinery to meet your expectations when that piece of machinery was not built to be your mindreader. Just like a good relationship, you've gotta meet the computer halfway in order for you both to function harmoniously.

The same holds true for wine. 

Serving temperatures are important. The delicate aromas and structural compounds of wine are severely influenced by the temperature. Serving temperature for reds can vary depending on varietal, around 55 degrees F to 72 degrees F, but a good rule of thumb for whites is to chill them around 45 degrees F.

And guess what? Your white wine doesn't care if you've just come home with your takeout and you're ready to start eating sushi and drinking wine and watching Netflix right now—you need to let that sucker chill for a bit.

I bet you can see where this is going.

Such was the case last Saturday night. I'd brought home a bottle of Sutter Home Pinot Grigio and some sushi. But I was ravenously hungry, so I didn't wait to chill my wine—and I was punished. It was not a pleasant drinking experience, one I'm pretty sure I likened to drinking fruit-flavored rubbing alcohol. And I blamed it on the wine.

That's what I get for paying $5 for wine! my brain fumed. (Though, to be fair, I've had some delicious $5 wines, and have known to imbibe Two-Buck-Chuck with great pleasure. But hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by her wine choice, and so I raged on.)

But later that night, I needed some wine to go with my SNL (I mean, right?), and thought, "What the heck?" So I pulled my bottle out of the fridge and poured another glass. And this time, it was a completely different drinking experience—the wine was actually tasty because it was finally the correct temperature.

Duh. Duh, Amy. 

Sutter Home Pinot Grigio, when served at the proper ice-cold temperature, is a pretty solid wine. With notes of honeysuckle and lime, this wine sports medium acid with a high-ish tasting alcohol content, rounded out with flavors of peach and cantaloupe. If I had chilled this properly, I bet it would've gone well with my salmon and tuna nigiri. 

You can find a bottle of this online for $6, but I routinely see it for $5 at my local wine merchant.

Lesson learned. Don't be like me.

 

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