Wine of the Week: 2012 Terre Bianche Alghero Torbato

"We only have so many harvests in a lifetime, so we all try to come to conclusions quickly. Experimenting is a check on older generation’s advice and a way to explore our own winemaking preferences." - Greg Morthole
I got to thinking about what would the Wine of the Week look like this time around, and I thought it should be a wine that's both, something different and something new. I say different because this wine is entirely different than most dry white wines I encounter and something new because I had never tasted a wine produced from Torbato before.

The origins of this grape are highly disputed by 'experts' on varietal provenance but like other grapes who came from somewhere else, and later found a home where it was welcomed and cultivated, so too Torbato found its home in Sardina, the second largest island in the Mediterranean, located off the west coast of Italy. Though these grapes are a bit more high maintenance than other similar varietals, it is worth the time and effort to cultivate a local grape, partly for this wines tremendous pairing capabilities with seafood and secondly, well, because of tradition.

Sardina is a seafood lovers paradise, and Alghero is well-known for its lobster. It's a gorgeous city surrounded by the sea, but also ages old stone walls and cobblestone streets. Be sure to travel there when the lobster is in season, or you may miss out. This fresh catch dish is typically served on a bed of peppery rocket (which I never heard of before researching this article) purported to be an excellent place to for grilled tomatoes and caramelized onions to bed down before the succulent lobster is ready to join the party.

This wine, is possibly the only Torbato you'll find stateside, the Terre Bianche vineyard delivers a sophisticated, mineral-driven, dry wine which seems to boast a thousand years of seabed sediment in each sip and slurp, yet it still has sufficient weight and a nice mouthfeel. A bit of lemon peel rinds on the nose and dried citrus notes on the long, pleasing finish.

For fans of wines with blazing acid and layers of minerality, this is the wine for you. It sells for $19 most places, but I scored mine in San Diego before I left, at one the most diverse wines shops in the city, an excellent wine store I worked for back in the day, Bird Rock Fine Wine in La Jolla, Ca. The QPR is off the hook, great juice for the price. I scored this wine 90 points. This, not a "collector' wine, this is a quick-turn, enjoy in the moment wine.

As for pairing ideas, this wine had me immediately thinking what I'd pair it with and I thought, "hmm I know a creamy lobster bisque and some crusty sourdough bread would do the trick nicely. Seeing I was at home and not island hopping in the Mediterranean, I opted for something like this bisque, I could make quickly and cheaply. This wine has freaky high acid, so it should cut through the creaminess pretty quickly, making each bite, better than the last. I found a great quick and easy recipe here. Until next time sip long and prosper cheers!

“A key principle for pairing is to match body with body, so that the wine is not too heavy or light for the dish, and vice versa” ~ Andrea Robinson. 


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