Sat down tonight to a 5-course all-fish dinner at an amazing restaurant up in the hills above Naples in the town of Avellino in Campania Region. A couple of varieties not common on American tables–one you’ve probably heard of, the other completely new to me. Both wines from Tenuta Meraggio, and both shared an effortless pale canary color. But that’s where the similarities ENDED.
The Greco di Tufo came out hesitantly with an interesting funky nose hinting at barnyard ever-so-slightly and a nice reduction of stewed fruit–all in a crystalline package seamless and spookily bright. Good earthiness and body in bouquet, a mineral edge sharp and tactile but grounded in cream soda and Sprite notes. In the mouth, full and rich, an explosion of all the things we like about Riesling in its most demure, young form. Round on a razor’s edge, a sierra strawberry goodness with citrus rind core sharp and cutting. Mid palate waters back coolly in the way we want whites to hold back a little at this age, showing the kind of balance and undeveloped nuances you know will one day SCREAM with complexity. It all wakes up immediately to almost tannic-like proportions, filling the finish with kiwi piquantness and green-tea bitterness impossible to say No to. A brilliant white wine. A straight-laced white that sternly wiped the ahi-tartare, octopus, and razor-clam smile off my face with aplomb border-lining on perfection. The only thing delicate about this wine is its looks.
The Fiano reflected in from the opposite bank. Creamy and round, crammed with vanilla and nutty sur-lie. Old world cellar and ridiculous fumé captivate and make you check the label twice to make sure you are not drinking Chardonnay. Full of applesauce, melon and lemon tart on the tongue, a green cleanness reverberates throughout, creating another perfect pair with everything from seared ahi to shrimp & mushroom pasta. Not a drop of oak on this thing, it just cries out for food, but is equally at home just sipping in a glass.
Here are two white wines from one producer that will sooth all wine-fans. The Greco for the acid-freaks and hipster-somms who require Riesling, Grüner and Albarino to be happy, and a muscular Fiano to sooth all the Chenin and Chablis folks. You CAN’T go wrong with these shockingly complex whites produced from the high foothills surrounding Mount Vesuvius.
2018 TENUTA DEL MERIGGIO Greco di Tufo DOCG Campania Italy 13.5
2018 TENUTA DEL MERIGGIO Fiano di Avellino DOCG Campania Italy 13.0