“Now why did I buy that wine and what’s it going to taste like?” It’s not a dilemma I face often – I usually know what I’ve bought and why. But, every now and then, I see something unusual that catches my attention and so I buy it. Normally, we drink it within a few weeks, but, sometimes, for no particular reason, it sits in our wine rack for months until I’ve completely forgotten what drew me to it or what to expect when I open it.
That’s just what happened with Scacciadiavoli’s Montefalco Bianco from Umbria in Central Italy (Wine Society, £13.95). I must have had a good reason to buy it but, when I looked at it, I just couldn’t remember what it was or – perhaps more importantly – what to drink it with to enjoy it at its best.
I know the name ‘Montefalco’ – it’s a red wine similar in style to a nice Chianti, but this was a white. I guessed my wine would be dry and, with 13% alcohol, reasonably full bodied. But what else? Not a word about it in Jancis Robinson’s wine ‘bible’ and just a single line in my usually helpful Italian wine guide. Even the Wine Society’s tasting notes were a bit sparse so I decided that we should try it with some roasted monkfish with rosemary and tomatoes; fortunately, it worked perfectly.
The wine was, as I thought, quite generous and rich in the mouth; also really complex in a tangy, spicy sort of way with hints of pineapple and peach and a lovely long dry savoury finish. It’s made from an unusual blend of 2 local grapes, trebbiano spoletino and grechetto with a touch of chardonnay added which had been fermented in old oak barrels. The trebbiano, which can be quite neutral and bland, had been left on its skins as you would for a red wine which gave it some attractive texture in the mouth.
So, a very pleasant surprise in the end but a nudge that, next time I buy something obscure, to note down what to expect!