Tomas Clancy reviews Terruzi & Puthod, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2013 and Camille Giroud, AC Bourgogne Blanc 2015
Terruzi & Puthod, Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2013
Pricing : around €17
Available : from Karwig Wines, Carrigaline Cork and nationwide online at karwigwines.ie and selected wine shops and Off Licences nationwide
The white wines of Italy have had a mixed reputation for many having very often been seen as a falling into a very distant second placed interest compared to red wine. This was in fact a relatively recent, a twentieth century aberration. It came about in large measure because of the overwhelming success of Chianti both as a wine and above all as an idea.
Chianti wines are still the largest selling wine in the USA for example and across Ireland, the UK and Germany, the ubiquitous wicker basket covered bottle of Chianti graced an ocean of restaurant wine lists as the main ambassador for Italian wine.
When its hours of service in the evening were over, the Chianti bottle in its wicker jacket lived on as the candle decoration icon of a million Italian restaurants.
So, poor old Italian white only got a look in through cheap and cheerful Soave, then in the 1990s and early 2000’s fashion for Pinot Grigio and finally most recently in the form of a frothy sea of prosecco.
This is both a shame and a wrong. In fact the Romans 2000 years ago were far more interested in by all accounts, White Wines from Campania as the greatest wines, the Chateau Lafite of ancient Rome. Wines like Greco di Tufo and in the middle ages white wines from Tuscany were hugely fashionable.
This wine from the Teruzzi & Puthod winery which though founded in 1974 by a husband and wife team have become the largest private holders of Vernaccia vines in Tuscany and their Vernaccia di San Gimignano is one of the potential benchmarks for bringing a fine wine focus onto this much undervalued wine. Hailing from the impossibly beautiful hilltop town of it is the very definition of a terroir driven wine, lean, crisp, well defined fruit with edgy acidity and a lifted bright finish that begs for richly sauced pasta.
Camille Giroud, AC Bourgogne Blanc 2015
Pricing : Fallon & Byrne Wine Cellar €26.95, plus €10 corkage eating in and from Green Man Wines €34.95
Available : Green Man Wines, Terenure; Fallon & Byrne, Dublin 2 and good independent wine shops, wine bars and off licences nationwide
The so called ABC brigade, the Anything But Chardonnay dominated wine circles for the last 10 years and have been highly influential in raising the profiles of Pinot Grigio, Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc of course and today wines like Albarino and Viura.
Obviously we wine lovers do not want to stop this brilliant trend of exploration and review and our first wine today is a good example of why we need to keep our minds and our palates open.
However, Burgundy has been the home of the world’s greatest white wines for nearly 2000 years not because of a slick marketing plan or brilliant sponsorship deals with some transient sporting team, but, because it has been the source of a revered and celebrated human joy, a discretionary pleasure for millennia.
One of those pleasures is Chardonnay planted in the unique soils of southern Burgundy from the small medieval city of Beaune south to the lands of the Abbey at Cluny which we call Macon today.
This is not, Chardonnay in any simple sense, rather this is a white wine from the soil of Burgundy, which uses the Chardonnay grape to paint its picture.
This is an impeccable, light toasty, nutty and melting butter on brioche joy, with a clean lifted finish. It is a remarkable estate where time, effort and not a little money has been expended to create one of the best AC Bourgogne wines on the market, a class leading example drawn from vineyards in southern Burgundy but crucially including parcels in Clos de la Combe in Puligny-Montrachet and from around Corpeau, close to Puligny-Montrachet.
A slice of fine wine brilliance at a compelling price far adrift from the hundreds of euros a bottle of its neighbours.