Buried under two months' worth of unopened bills I find some old scribbled notes on the two white wines shown above. (Don't you hate it when that happens!) In any case, neither one should actually put your bookkeeping in the red -- they're both fine values on some exotic, nay, ancient wines from deep down in parts of the Old World that you are not likely exposed to everyday.
The Greek bottle (Argyros) outshone the Italian (Rocca Delle Macie) in virtually every way. But the two bottles were more similar they I had expected they'd be. And personally I found them both to be quite pleasant wines that you could sip with practically any summer dinner you might have in mind.
Argyros Estate Santorini 2005
Eyes: This is a pale straw colour, faintly hued yet more pigmented than the Tuscan Vernaccia.
Nose: A lovely mix of minerality and lightly perfumed flowers emanate from this wine. A twist of banana is thrown in there too but it's slight as I am sensitive to too much of it, if anyone is.
Mouth: Nice acid and quite dry. Fruit mostly limited to citrus tones. I am surprised because before this was poured I thought it would be similar to a fat Southern Rhône. Like on the nose, on the palate this wine proves to be a more aromatic grape blend, with cleaner lines than say Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. In fact, these Greek grapes -- Asyrtiko, Aidáni Aspro and Athíri -- combine to make a delightfully deft and refreshing aperitif type wine. Some wood noted, pleasing.
Stomach: A hit with Joe's cheese pretzel bites.
J. M. Argyros, Episkopi, Santorini, Ellas (Greece). 13%.
Rocca Delle Macie Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2006
Eyes: Very light, almost white and totally transparent.
Nose: Musky notes. Sweetish aromas. Not complex.
Mouth: A bitter acidity punctuates this wine. It is rasping and offers just the kind of sincerity I look for in an aperitif wine. Yet it is not as successful as the previous bottle. It is too simple to present any real interest you could linger over. A fuller nutty character on the finish and little more complexity would put it on par with other better Vernaccias I have tried recently.
Stomach: This is not the best Vernaccia I have tasted but try it with mixed nuts to lure out the nutty flavours that are bit too suppressed in this vintage.
Castellina in Chianti, Italia. 12.5%.
Yes indeed, this white wine head-to-head was conducted at Joe's place of Joe's Wine fame, way back in January. It was just the opening bout of an evening card that featured the heavyweights you see at his post titled: Bordeaux-Inspired Wines.
Joe and his family were great hosts that night and served up an amazing raclette dinner for the tasting of reds. A raclette machine is like a personal Hibachi in front of your place setting but better! I was so into the proceedings that I let my pen and paper sit inactively beside me while I seared steak, melted cheese and crisped ham with the raclette, all while sipping a selection of three substantial wines. Thankfully, Joe was more mindful of the task at hand and has already written up his notes on them. They were reds that sported Bordelais grapes without the accompanying Bordeaux appellation.
They were from Tuscany, Friuli, and British Columbia: The 2000 Ghiaie Della Furba, the 2001 Dorigo Montsclapade, and the 2002 Osoyoos Larose. Check them out at the link above and thanks to Joe for hosting!