For this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday (numero diez, no less!), Alice from My Adventures in the Breadbox has chosen the theme: White Pinot. Well, that’s so super easy for me since, pinot blanc/grigio/gris are my most oft-quaffed vino of late. But then the stress about which one to taste threw me into a buzz. Luckily, we went to Osteria Latini for dinner the other evening, giving me a chance to just pick something off their wine list.
The list had quite a few, but the one that stood out to me was Tiefenbrunner because it sure as hell didn’t sound like an Italian wine. What a great name, and it sounded just like Tiefschwarz. I can’t really explain why that makes me all giddy since it has absolutely nothing to do with food or wine, but Tiefschwarz sends me into orbit. See, sometimes I pick wine because the name is interesting. LOL!
Despite my initial skepticism about our server, Chenoa, I asked for her advice. See, Chenoa looked like a skinnier, slightly toned down (but only slightly) version of Kelly Osbourne, with dark hair in two tight braids down her back and thick bangs covering her darkly lined dark eyes. Though I didn’t look, I wouldn’t have been surprised if her fingernails were painted Vamp. But though she looked like a rocker, she was good. She rattled off a list of almost 30 specials with no notes, and when we had questions, Chenoa was even able to rewind to an exact spot like a DVD instead of having to backtrack through each one like a VCR. Now that’s good.
She had no opinion on the Tiefenbrunner because she had never tasted it. How unfortunate, because I’m a complete chicken like that, and didn’t want order it without having any clue about it. I went with one of her suggestions: Villa Russiz. It had the word "Collio" attached to it, but I had no idea what that was at the time. Now I know. Villa Russiz is the winemaker, and Collio is the DOC, just like AOC, or region that produces the grapes. *raises eyebrows* My friends will be very impressed when I use DOC in a sentence. Okay, so they won’t.
When Chenoa brought the Villa Russiz 2003 Collio Pinot Grigio to the table I was mildly surprised. Pinot Grigios, some even with names of saints, always look angelic. Translucent glass, or very very subtly opaque bottles, adorned with parchment colored labels that are embellished with curlicues and calligraphy, and a halo of golden foil. The Villa Russiz, though, was a sleek black bottle, with an almost opalescent sheen of dakr polished metal, with nothing more than a narrow black label. No fancy font, no curly calligraphy, no nonsense. It was simply “Villa Russiz Pinot Grigio” and a small winemaker’s emblem on it. The words were in gold, but they were in capital letters, in a somewhat trendy, updated medieval-goth-rock-and-roll font. I don’t know why I think this now, but if Chenoa were wine bottle, she’d be the Villa Russiz.
When she poured to taste, I couldn’t hold it in. I had to chuckle because would she know what a neophyte I am? Would she see right through to my very green and unripened grape juice soul? I stuck my nose down in the glass, and it sure smelled like wine. I tasted it, and it sure tasted like wine. Pour, girl, pour!
Osteria Latini is dark inside, but by the light of the single votive candle on our fairly large round table, it glittered a sheer pale gold. This is what I love about pinot grigio. It’s always that light, bright straw color, not that horribly antique, melted margarine yellow of chardonnay.
The Villa Russiz smelled like...oh hell, I can’t even make up something sophisticated here. All I can say is that pinot grigio usually smells like fruit, but this one did not. If anything, it smelled like a fruit’s stem. Or maybe the fruit’s leaf. But definitely not fruit of any kind. And it was heavier than I expected, since pinot grigio has always been light for me. It wasn’t heavy, just heavi-er. Does that mean it had more body? More character? I haven’t gotten to that chapter in my wine books yet. The winemaker says “delicate, elegant, complex and fruit-led, the nose acquires over time a broad bouquet of sun-dried hay and toasted almonds.” Hay? Oooooh, sun-dried hay. That’s why I couldn’t get it.
The one thing that I definitely got right away was that the wine was very sparkly. It wasn’t carbonated and bubbling over like champagne, but it definitely had some sizzle in the mouth. I have no idea if that’s good or bad. I didn’t mind it.
For the food we had on the table – pastas in cream sauces, antipasti of salumi, vegetables and cheese, eggplant, chicken, and fish – it seemed to be alright. And even without food, the Villa Russiz 2003 Collio Pinot Grigio was okay. I’d drink it again. Or maybe I should try that Tiefenbrunner next. Or maybe I'll just wait to see what the next Wine Blogging Wednesday theme is!