Category Archives: Trebbiano / Ugni Blanc

Duparc Pineau des Charentes “White”

Pineau des Charentes AOC, France; 17% ABV
imported by Halby Marketing, Sonoma, CA
$5 for 375ml at the Richmond, CA, store

When I ordered this, I thought it was just some French white wine I’d never heard of.  When it arrived, I was completely baffled, so I looked up Pineau des Charentes in Wikipedia: It is “a regional French aperitif … a fortified wine (mistelle or vin de liqueur), made from either fresh, unfermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie [twice-distilled spirits] is added and then matured.”  So, of course, I had to try one.

I think this is delicious!  It’s sweet from the fresh grapes, but a little less sweet than a dessert wine.  I’m not satisfied with my description here, but what comes to mind is honeysuckle / honey and yellow-grapey canned oranges, peaches, and pears.  The flavor of purified alcohol is also prominent.  I prefer it chilled.  For me, at least, this aperitif, with its delicious sweetness and high alcohol content, is a bit dangerous.  🙂

Caminetto non-vintage Vino Spumante Brut

Trebbiano Rubicone IGT, southern Emilia-Romagna, Italy; 11% ABV
imported by 8Vini, San Leandro, CA
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 18 May

Caminetto_VinoSpumanteBrutI recalled that Caminetto is a label from which we’ve had wines of mixed quality (including some good ones), and I was intrigued by the idea of a sparkling wine made from Trebbiano, a grape that I think of as delicate and crisp in wines from the Veneto area.  It turns out this is great for the price.

The wine shows flavors of yellow, white, and green melon and citrus fruits, with crisp acid and slight bitterness balancing the gently textured fruit.  The abundant carbonation is neither very fine nor too coarse.

I know it’s unlikely, but we happened to leave some of this in a well-stoppered bottle for the next day, and it’s still delicious.

É got 2014 Trebbiano – Chardonnay

Trebbiano 70%, Chardonnay 30%; 11% ABV
Rubicone IGT, Emilia-Romagna, Italy; Imported by 8 Vini, Hayward, CA
$4 at the Oakland, Ca, store on 25 March

Egot_2014_TrebChardInitial nose is of nice Chardonnay yellow apple; initial palate is a bit disjointed and mostly of green lime juice, something I don’t really associate with either Chardonnay or Trebbiano, at least not if they’re ripe.  However, a little while after opening, these flavors, with some melon (green / white / yellow), meld into a nicely delineated taste, with a delicate, medium body.  I’d say this wine is a pleasantly tasty and gently crisp summer quaffer.

I was going to go with a “high Drinkable,” but it was so lovely and yummy the next day, I’ll go with a “low Thumbs Up.”

Les Chaberts 2012 white

30% Grenache Blanc, 30% Ugni Blanc, 30% Bourboulenc, 10% Vermentino; 13.5% ABV
screw cap; Across the top, label says “Rhone Valley Vineyards”
Appelation Luberon Contrôlée, France
$4 at the Oakland, CA, store on 16 March

LesChaberts_2012_Luberon_whiteI hardly ever see a white Rhone wine at the GO, so I eagerly grabbed this one.  I like the wine and think it’s a reasonable value.

I opened this to use in a soup, and had a little to try out.  It struck me as kind of austere and minerally, with the fruit less prominent.

The next day, I liked it better.  The fruit seemed a little more forward: yellow melon still on the less ripe side, with a little green, and some citrus (mostly lemon, a little lime), the acid still pleasantly crisp and the minerality still providing structure.  It’s not very Californian, but I think fans of this style will be quite pleased.  It went nicely with dover sole cooked with preserved yellow limes and green olives.

2011 Lupi Reali Trebbiano D’Abruzzo, Italy $3.99

Silverdale, WA    12.5% alc.    (Purchased on 3/25/14)

IMG_1457Made with organic grapes.  Brilliant pale golden.  Nose shows lemon and lime zest and definite flinty minerality and these aromas bloom substantially after an hour or more in the glass.  In the mouth it’s tart (but not overly so) and dry; steely and austere with more minerality, citrus and underripe pear.  More flavorful than I expected.  Similar to, but less fruity than most French Ugni Blancs that I’ve had.  Rather simple, but clean and refreshing; perfect accompaniment to simple foods like roasted poultry and baked or poached white fish with simple or no sauces and lighter flavored herbs.  May even work well with fried calamari or pesto pasta dishes.  For lovers of old world style whites; typically Italian.

Montresor 2009 Castello di Soave

Soave DOC, Italy
Garganega and Trebbiano grapes; 12.5% ABV
$5 at the Berkeley, CA store on 8 Feb, 2013.  Don’t know if there’s any left.

2009_Montresor_SoaveAfter liking the 2009 Bianco del Nago, also made by Montresor from Garganega grapes, I expected to like this wine.  However, although I think it’s a pleasant enough quaffer, I can’t quite recommend it for the price.

The wine has pleasant aromas and flavors of yellow flowers, yellow and green apples, and a tart minerality, but it’s not very complex or interesting.  Maybe I’m just behind the times, but while it would be fine for $4, I’m a little dissatisfied with it for $5.

Montresor 2009 Turbiano di Lugana “Gran Guardia”

Lugana DOC, Italy; Imported by Vinum International in the Bronco portfolio
100% Turbiano (Trebbiano); 13% ABV
Purchased 8 Feb, 2013, for $9 at the Berkeley, CA store.  Probably still some there.

2009_GradGuardia_TurbianoDeLuganaI’m still learning about Italian wine, so I didn’t recognize when I bought this that it’s made from Trebbiano grapes.  I didn’t get a great impression of the grape from the 2006 Lungarotti “Torre di Giano”.  The information I looked up described it as a rather characterless grape which could best be described as having a “vinous” quality (tastes like wine).  So, although it was packaged in a fancy way like the 2009 Bianco di Custoza “Monte Fiera” (also $9),  it was with some trepidation that I opened this bottle.

I need not have worried, as this wine is lovely.  With a nose mostly of yellow (flowers, apples, and peaches), on the palate, while lighter-bodied, it has pronounced flavors of the above plus lemon, with some orange peaches, orange zest, and an almondy, minerally bitter (in a good way, IMO) finish.  While there is the expected crispness of Trebbiano, the fruit also sweetens (lightly honeyed) with a little air, and the overall impression is of a delicate, elegant, and balanced wine.  It’ll probably be fine for a year or two more in cool storage, but there’s no reason to wait to drink it.  If choosing between this and the Bianco di Custoza, I would base it on the anticipated food pairing.  This is likely better with seafood, and the Bianco di Custoza could go with fattier dishes such as lighter chicken or pork.  This wine stood up fine to (but not exactly go with) squid with green olives and capers over rice.

The Bronco spec sheet recommends serving this at 46-50°F (10°C), and I mostly agree.  Below this range, the wine is too simple, and much above this range, it loses most of it’s delicateness.  However, when warmer, its stronger flavors become more intense, and I didn’t mind that, either.

2009 Monte Fiera “Fattoria di Cavalcaselle”

Bianco di Custoza DOC, Verona, Italy; 13% ABV
from Giacomo Montresor S.P.A.
grapes: 35% Garganega, 20% Bianca Fernanda (Cortese), 25% Trebbiano, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Riesling
Purchased on 30 Jan 2013 from the Berkeley, CA store for $9

2009_MonteFiera_BiancoDiCustozaA number of interesting-looking Italian wines imported by Vinum International of Napa, CA arrived recently in the Berkeley store.  I won’t be able to get get through all of them, but I got a few, and started with this one last night.

The bottle is heavy and solid, with the producer name made into the bottle itself (see very top of the photo), and a very pretty label.  IMO, the wine inside lived up to the packaging, with elegantly structured layers of less ripe yellow apple, lemon, yellow melon including rind, and green pear.  Although it’s far from austere for an Italian wine, it’s a far cry from a California fruit bomb.  The back label recommends serving it at 50°F and I agree that it should be only modestly chilled.  Although it’s in a style with which I, and probably a lot of readers, are not very familiar, I think this wine is an excellent bargain.

The wine’s page on the producer’s site (using Google translate) posts these notes, with which I agree:  Brilliant straw yellow with light green reflections, intense and characteristic fragrance of wild flowers, tastes fruity, delicate and lightly aromatic. Hints of musk, sage and honey.

Stiletto NV Soave

Veneto, Italy; 12.5% ABV
$4 at the Oakland, CA store

Stiletto NV SoaveMy general impression of Soave and Trebbiano, the typical main grape, is that it’s pretty bland; however, I have heard there are good ones. Although I had no reason to believe that this bottle was one of them, it was cheap. Und zo…

Pretty much met my low expectations: bland, boring, and a bit oxidized to boot. Slight nondescript white fruit (Thompson seedless grapes); the best thing I can say about it is that it is dry with crisp acidity, although you could say the same thing about a glass of lemon water. No middle, no finish…OK with food, not so good on its own. Don’t bother.

2006 Lungarotti “Torre di Giano”

Torgiano, central Umbria, Italy, 12% ABV

70% Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc), 30% Grechetto

$6 at the San Pablo, CA store

Let me start by saying that I am not very knowledgeable about Italian wines, white Italian wines in particular.  So I started by looking up the grapes.  Trebbiano was universally described as having not much character at all, beyond being rather crisp.  Grechetto was described as having a nice nuttiness and lending some weight to wines otherwise lacking it.  This wine would seem to be a good example of those characteristics, done pretty well.

The wine is quite lively and tasty, with crisp citrus of lemon / yellow grapefruit / hint of green lime, mid-palate of yellow apple / pear (but only slightly sweet), nice nuttiness throughout, some oak, finish of melon rind.  The crisp acid with some body and structure make it quite food-friendly.  Let me quote the back of the bottle, which besides being a little exaggerated, seemed pretty accurate to me: “A white wine of elegant structure and balance, it matches acidity to roundness and freshness, dry and easy drinking, it is ideal for appetizers and fish.”  This is all the more surprising given the age of this wine, as Trebbiano is supposedly best drunk right away.  I wouldn’t wait any longer to drink it, though.