Italian wine dinner part 1

Last weekend my wife and I were invited by friends to an Italian wine dinner. Usually our wine dinners tend to be focused on a single wine or a single region. You can read about our Brunello di Montalcino wine dinner here. I’ve also blogged about a Montepulciano di Abruzzo dinner. It was the birthday party of a good friend of mine and since most of his friends enjoy a good glass of wine he decided to uncork some of his Italian gems. Some people brought wine, too that we opened right away. Since we were around 30 people we went through a lot of wines 🙂

We started with two white wines from St Michael Eppan. Jack, the host, travelled to South Tyrol a few months ago and after visiting the winery he took back a few bottles of 2011 Sanct Valentin Gewurztraminer and some 2010 Sanct Valentin Pinot Bianco. After seeing the bottles I immediately thought about Stefano from Flora’s Table who wrote about the Pinot Grigio from St. Michael Eppan. Sadly I did not get to try that one. His wine review for the Pinot Grigio is worth reading.
The Sanct Valentin Gewurztraminer aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. Bright yellow color, intense nose with aromas of peppers, cloves and flowers. The palate was spicy with a lingering finish. Not my type of wine but worth trying. Average price on wine searcher: $32
I liked the Pinot Bianco from Sanct Valentin a lot more but of course Gewrztraminer is one of the most important grapes for wine production in South Tyrol. Nevertheless, I found the bouquet of the Pinot Bianco to be much more interesting with aromas of green apples, melons, hints of pear, butter and vanilla.


It has to be said that  50% of the wine aged in small barriques and 50% in in large oak casks. The palate convinced me with a good structure, soft oak notes and and a lingering finish. Pinot Bianco from St. Michael Eppan is an excellent white wine. Average price on wine searcher: $32

We continued with a white wine came from the Marche. We had a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore (I really hate long wine names) from Pievalta which is owned by Barone Pizzini, a winery from Lombardy. Lime, pear, pineapple on the palate. Full-bodied with exotic fruit on the palate. Persistently long finish. The wine won the 3 bicchieri gambero rosso award in 2012. Average price on wine searcher: $20 Excellent PQ ratio!

The last white wine was a Sicilian Chardonnay from Planeta (2010 vintage). It was one of two wines that I brought to the dinner. This was only the second time that I had this wine. The first time I really liked it.

100% Chardonnay that aged in small oak barrels. Golden yellow color. Apricots, almonds, butter, bananas on the nose. Loved it. Well-balanced oak and fruit notes. I tasted some mango, too! Long aftertaste. The wine won the 3 bicchieri gambero rosso award, Average price on wine searcher: $36 I have to thank Julian, for this recommendation. Great wine. If you don’t know his blog then make sure to check it out.

My favorite white wine was the Pinot Bianco from St. Michael Eppan but the Planeta Chardonnay was fantastic as well. The next post will focus on the red wines that we tasted. The list includes wines from Abruzzo, Tuscany and Piedmont. Also if you noticed I was busy over the last week so I didn’t post anything. But I’ll try to post more regularly again..


14 thoughts on “Italian wine dinner part 1

  1. Looks like you had a great time! How long did you guys drank wine? I mean 4 white wines is already quite a lot to drink.
    Glad to see that you liked the Planeta. Thanks for the shout out 🙂
    I’ll have to see if I can find that St. Eppan Pinot Bianco at an affordable price. €18 for a Pinot Bianco doesn’t sound right to me..

  2. Hey Frank,
    Good to see you back! I was kiond of wondering where you were! 🙂
    Many thanks for the kind mention and link!
    If you get an opportunity, give St Michael Eppan’s Sauvignon Blanc Sanct Valentin a try too. It is quite special.
    Also, glad you liked Planeta’s Chardonnay. It is one of my favorite white wines, and in case you have not tried it out yet, get a bottle of their Cometa (100% Fiano) too as it is spectacular.
    Finally, as to Verdicchio you may like to check out Marotti Campi’s Salmariano and Bucci’s Villa Bucci Riserva too. I think you would enjoy them both 🙂
    Take care

    • Hey Stefano 🙂
      Sometimes my work is keeping me busy 😦 But what I can do..
      I tried the Cometa long time ago. Probably should retry it because I don’t remember it too well!

      Do you know the differences between all these types of Verdicchio? I saw there is Verdicchio Matelica Verdicchio di Catello di Jesi and so on. Is it the same wine with a different name?

      • Also i will see if I try find the Sanct Valentin Sauvignon Blanc but I don’t know if I’ll find them since the host of the dinner brought the wines back from a trip to South Tyrol.

      • Apologies if it took me a while to get back to you on this – I was also in one of those situations where work kind of gets in the way 😉
        So, regarding Verdicchio, there are four appellations in the Marche region, all made out of Verdicchio grapes:
        – Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC (Verdicchio grapes for at least 85%, from an area near the towns of Ancona and Macerata)
        – Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva DOCG (Verdicchio grapes for at least 85%, from an area near the towns of Ancona and Macerata, needs to age at least 18 months)
        – Verdicchio di Matelica DOC (Verdicchio grapes for at least 85%, from an area near the towns of Ancona and Macerata that is much smaller than and different from that of the Castelli di Jesi)
        – Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva DOCG (Verdicchio grapes for at least 85%, from an area near the towns of Ancona and Macerata that is much smaller than and different from that of the Castelli di Jesi, needs to age at least 18 months)
        I know, it is confusing. In essence, there are four appellations all using the same grape variety from two different areas in the Marche region, and the regulations for two of such appellations (the two DOCG ones) have stricter production requirements.

      • I think all wines in the Sanct Valentin line are available in the US (I bought the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir, but I am fairly sure that the others are also available.

      • Thanks for explaining this to me 🙂
        It is a bit confusing but now that I know that they are all produced with mostly verdicchio grapes I don’t have to worry about “bad surprises” between the four appellations.

        I will take a look and see if the St. Michael Eppan wines are available in the US 🙂

      • Frank, let me know if you have difficulties sourcing St Michael Eppan’s Sanct Valentin in the US. There are a few stores I know that carry them.

    • Found a few retailers on wine searcher but I will contact them first to find out if they take the wine back in case it corks or is spoiled. Don’t want another “Sassicaia” experience 😛

      Thanks though!

    • Thanks for visiting my blog!
      Wine dinners are so much fun if you are with the right company 🙂
      Great to see that you like them, too. I wish you a fun wine dinner. Let me know how if it turns out well

  3. Italian wine dinner part 2 – Wine Talks

  4. Chablis Wine Tasting Evening – Wine Talks

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