A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

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Wines of the EquinoX – Sept. 21, 2011

The equinox is always a tricky time of year.  On this day (and one other day in the spring) the equator is even-keeled, and if

Marilisa Allegrini dishin' on the Veneto at Eataly's La Scuola.

you’re in the northern hemisphere, it means that winter is on the way and the warm days of autumn are numbered.  If you’re in the southern hemisphere, it means the cold days are behind you and all that’s left between you and the summer heat are a few spring mornings still clinging to the chill of winter.  It’s a good time for reflection, and as the earth is performing its balancing act, it’s a great time to indulge in the splendors of the vine.  Wines of balance and character are the order of the day.

At a recent tasting at Eataly in Manhattan, Marilisa Allegrini spoke about her family’s properties and the culture of each region.  Her family has been making wine in the Veneto for nearly six generations, and has recently expanded production into Tuscany.  One of the Tuscan properties is in the Bolgheri, called Poggio al Tesoro.

Poggio al Tesoro's Solosole Vermentino

It’s here in the south of Tuscany that certain grapes like Vermentino thrive.  Poggio al Tesoro’s Vermentino is named, Solosole. Literally translating to “only sun”, the name refers to the importance of the sun pertaining to the seasons of the vine and the ripening of the grapes.   The wine is a great representation of the grape, Vermentino, as it displays fresh aromas of fennel and grapefruit backed by tight and lively acidity.  The vines were grafted from cuttings originating in Corisca, and Marilisa states that this particular strain of Vermentino is superior to other strains and it produces wines that have balance, fruit, minerality, approachability, and ageability.

The current release is the 2010 vintage and retails for around $20, making it both a Wine For A Jack$on and a Wine For The EquinoX; or in essence, a “Wine For The Jackuinox“.  It’s a great wine for fish, salads, crudo preparations, and light game dishes.  The acidity is coyingly sharp, and reminds me of a dry Riesling with hints of fleshy petrol notes.  As the wine opens up, aromas and flavors of lemongrass are more dominant and the wine turns a bit creamier.  Overall, it’s a great introductory wine to the white wine world of southern Tuscany.

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