I hosted a blind tasting for the Ted & Fritz Wine Club Thing Saturday night, and the theme was European White Wines. The wines were from Italy, France (2), Spain, Portugal, and – just for a lark – Greece. My opinion of Greek wine was shaped by Retsina, so my expectations were, to say the least, quite low, and I was prepared to retch. When my guests heard that I had a Greek wine, their reactions ranged from wrinkled noses to abject horror.
Were we shocked! Guess which one was the wine of the night! We were all pleasantly surprised, and pleased because the price was right. It was also delicious.
We noticed several things through the course of the evening:
- Good European wines don’t have to cost an arm and a leg
- All European wines don’t smell like barnyards
- European white wines age beautifully
- Even an evening of sipping only whites can be quite pleasant!
The wines tasted were as follows:
2008 Aveleda Fonte Vinho Verde – Portugal
2005 Moschofilero Boutari Wine – Greece
2009 Chateau des Cleons Muscadet Sèvre et Maine – France
2008 Tommasi ‘Le Rosse’ Pinot Grigio – Italy
2005 Château Coustaut Blanc – France
All of these wines were less than $17.00, none was dreck, and their quality ranged from nice to wow. The Moschofilero surprised, because that’s the name of the actual grape from the Peloponnese (doesn’t that sound sexy?), and it was quite good. The descriptions of the older wines that I was able to find all came from the time that they were young. The description that I was able to find on the Moschofilero described it as straw-colored with a greenish tint. Six years after vintage, it is a shimmering gold. And, yes, I’m still stunned.
For locals, I found it at Lee’s Discount Liquor (I know, I know) for $14.99.
The moral of this story? Don’t deny yourself the experience of trying wines from different areas. There’s a reason why the people make the wines; we may not like them, but we gain more experience, educate our palates, and occasionally find the gem.