My primary objective continues to be fragrant and refreshing white wines from Italy and as the summer heats up I'm happy to report on this interesting bottle, which I found peering up at me from the SAQ's bottom shelf. It is a new product in store and one of only two readily available Tocais that I'm aware of in the province. As a result, I had no trouble deciding to take the plunge on this inexpensive and unique bottle.
It's a varietal wine labelled Tocai Italiano. The name of the Italian/Slovenian Tocai grape has a vast and sordid history (see details here). The most important thing is the grape itself -- names be damned.
It is that grape which is the predominant variety in a perennial favourite of mine, the Maculan "Pino & Toi". Here, in the Tocai Italico Castello di Porcia Lison-Pramaggiore Classico 2005, no blending grapes are used, meaning that the wine can take on the Lison-Pramaggiore appellation.
(I find it kind of funny and somewhat unfortunate that the SAQ website lists this item with an ill-advised space that renders the producer's name as Castello di Porc -- Pig Castle... the difference between a Porc and a Porcia certainly could not be greater. Oh well.)
Of this appellation, The Oxford Companion to Wine says that it lies mainly in the Veneto region of north east Italy and was created in 1986 by the fusion of two previous DOCs (Italian regions carrying the Denominazione di Origine Controllata seal), the Cabernet di Pramaggiore and Tocai di Lison.
While it's not too close to San Gimignano and its Vernaccia, which live quite a bit further down the boot in Tuscany, it is a perfect substitute with a similar attack and slaking refreshment.
If Vernaccia is known for a slight bitter finish, this Tocai has more of a sour dimension and suggests a Sauvignon Blanc's tartness. The grape's alternate names include Sauvignonasse and Vert -- each one lending the notion of a pithy weediness.
I've had some cheap Tocai that end up tasting resinated and half-way to Retsina, which can be a problem though Retsina does have its own time and place for enjoyment.
Overall, this is an affordable summertime food wine with good acidity and emphasis on minerality.
"Light in colour and body, floral in aroma, and has pronounced almond notes on the palate and on the nose. It is designed to be drunk young."