A flash of recognition quickly turned to comfort when I saw the familiar blue and grey label of Bastianich family’s 2011 Adriatico Friulano on the Vintages shelves of the LCBO this week. I wrote about 2010 vintage and vigneron Joe Bastianich last summer (see here), so I won’t recap in much depth, except to remind ourselves that this is an entry-level (just under $20 at $19.95) wine from a prestigious house that expresses a rather bold idea, given the preponderance of ‘terroir’ in today’s world of wine marketing.
The French, who can still charge more than anyone else in the world on the basis of where precisely a wine comes from, of course invented the term terroir, which has been translated into English as ‘somewhereness’. Maybe it’s the contempt for French things Bastinich holds and shares with his restaurant partner Mario Batali, that led him to create a cuvée (another French word meaning ‘blend’) made not with just the grapes of three seperate vineyards, but made with the grapes of three seperate vineyards in three seperate countries: Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The three nations form an Adriatic golden horseshoe at the top of that sea, so it’s not as much of a stretch as you might think. And, anyway, who cares? It tastes really good.
Honey, lemon and dandelion. The 2011 Bastinich Adriatico Friulano is not merely tryptic in the origin of its fruit, its flavour profile also balances three ways: a touch of sweetness, a zing of tartness, then a base note of bitterness. Don’t let the idea sweetness in a white wine put you off, it’s more than well balanced against the acidity and herbally bitter notes. I first became aware of the bitter qulity of Italian wines when it was remarked on by Roberto (The Hammer) Martella who, at a winemaker’s dinner at Grano, said he thought it distinguished them from others. As a taste dimension, I think bitterness (not too much, of course) adds an adult, or grown-up, quality to a wine, this one included. It’s an aperitif sipper, versatile enough for any antipasti or snacks one would put ut before dinner. Or just on it’s own as, what the Italians (somewhat dismissively) call a ‘contemplation wine’. I would recommend getting your hands on a bottle before they disappear quickly.
Click here to search the LCBO’s inventory database to see which Vintages stores are stocking it.
Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley