There is such a sea of unique wines out there, beyond the world of Chardonnay, and while the safer choices that we know are less of a risk, there is something really satisfying and just cool about trying a new wine and learning about it – about the culture that it represents and the people who make it and the food that it enhances in its native country or region.
Right now my mind is on Italy and I have been really intrigued by some very different white wines that I have been tasting. While I love a nice, buttery California Chard, there is something so different about these more obscure Italian varietals……and I feel like they are a little less contrived; a bit more delicate and the flavors really do seem to represent the region. You can sort

of mentally be transported to the Mediterranean while you enjoy these wines.

DonnaFugata Anthilia

This is a Sicilian white wine that I fell in love with last summer. The blend is unique to the area and the vintage  however always including Catarratto and Ansonica – both grapes that are native to Sicily.Anthilia is aged in the bottle for two months before release which I believe gives it a really nice weight and roundness on the palate. It has the body of a Chardonnay but without the oak, and a fruit forward style that exhibits peach and plum flavors which give it a really different spin.

The winery recommends serving this with crustaceans, with tuna steaks  or with stuffed eggplant in a light marinara sauce – we agree with this assessment and have also served it with some nice grilled fish rubbed with fresh herbs and the outcome was delicious. So next time you reach for that Chardonnay, you should take a second to look at what other white options there are out there and learn a but about wines from other parts of the world.

“TOH!” Tocai Fruilano

So this was a fun, inexpensive white that was brought to us last week to sample and i fell in love with the fresh, clean taste and nice citrus flavors it had. It is made from the grape Tocai which is the most commonly planted grape in this region of Italy which lies to the North-East. Now this is not in any relation to the wine Tokaji of Hungary which is sweet. To make it all a bit simpler to understand, they named it “TOH!”, a little play on the varietal that’s a bit more fun. The wine is made in the region of Friuli where there is an abundant amount of growers and wine producers. We found this wine to be really nice – pretty pear and citrus flavors, a sort of almond note and a touch of minerality. Its crisp and has some pizzazz but it doesn’t feel forced or too in your face. Just a nice easy wine to sip. I would serve alone…..on a night when my girlfriends are around and we want to just sit outside and relax and enjoy some wine. If I was going to serve it with dinner I think I would opt for serving it with something really lite, maybe scallops or with a tomato bruschetta . At $13 its a less expensive option so I think you can be a bit more adventurous with it.

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