When thinking of Italy and white wine, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is pinot grigio. Nothing wrong with that; the grape produces a lean and lovely wine that is not without its charms. But Italy has so much more to offer, so this week we opened things up to include a broader variety. Here are the top three, all very different wines:
2008 Azienda Agricola Provenz Lugana, $18.99
The grape here is trebbiano, grown in vineyards south of Lake Garda in northernmost Italy. Elegantly soft aromas mark the nose with lean citrus, peach, clover, basil and lime zest. This is an exceptionally well-balanced and completely refreshing wine with lively citrus flavors that linger nicely. Find yourself some fresh oysters and you've got a match made in heaven.
2008 Terredora Di Paulo Falanghina, $15.99
Falanghina is an ancient grape variety still grown in the coastal region of Campania north of Naples. The aromas are lush and lovely with ripe apple and pear colored by a pleasant touch of almond and walnut. There's a silky citrus component throughout, with zesty lemon and lime mingling with ripe peach on the palate. The crisp finish offers a nice minerality and a hit of lemon zest.
2009 Vietti Roero Arneis, $22
Back in the late '60s in the northwest region of Piemonte, only Vietti and Giacosa made a white wine from the arneis grape. Since then, it has grown steadily in popularity, and why not? The aromas are subtle but enticing with sweet peach backed by touches of herb and toast. The flavors are rich, round and fruit forward with spicy nectarine and blood orange balanced by crisp citrus. Not cheap, but definitely worthy.