The Italians produce oceans of white wine, but much of it is well made, thirst-quenching simple stuff that’s not really meant to be taken seriously. As a consequence Italy is primarily known for its great red wines, and the overall state of Italian white wine, in comparison to France, Germany, or Austria, is relatively underdeveloped. Here’s your opportunity to taste several white wines, two quite serious indeed, that put a lie to the notion that Italy cannot produce profound and serious white wines.
Walter Massa is a brilliant, funny, and visionary grower working in the hills north of the Piemontese town of Tortona. Some time ago he recognized the potential of timorasso, a white grape that had fallen on hard times following the phylloxera plague. At one time timorasso was a common sight in Piemonte, but by the 1980s it had mostly be supplanted by much more reliable but much less interesting varieties such as cortese. Mark Middlebrook—who imports the wines into the US and is something of an ambassador for Massa—will be at the shop pouring and yakking about the wonders of timorasso on Saturday, September 20 from 1-3 PM. We will sample Massa’s normale “Derthona,” and two of his rare, single vineyard timorassi: Sterpi (minerally, grown on stony soil), and Montecitorio (fleshy, grown on chalky soil). These exciting wines clearly demonstrate the terroir sensitivity and potential of this viticultural treasure. Oh, and we’ll also be pouring one of Massa’s lighter-bodied reds, too.