Casale del Giglio Bellone 2016
As I’ve written in other posts, there has been a revolution in the quality of Italian white wine. Once heavy, oxidised, and lacking freshness, wines from all over the country are now clean, crisp, and interesting. This change has come from cool fermentations in stainless steel tanks rather than at warm temperatures in large oak barrels.
Grapes are also treated with care, which may seem obvious but isn’t always the case with inexpensive wine. With that comes a respect for the grape variety, and producers have looked towards historic, quality, but overlooked varieties.
One such is Bellone, which originates from the Lazio region outside Rome. This is a high-quality variety which very few producers work with, as many producers preferred to plant neutral, high-yielding varieties such as Trebbiano. There still isn't much grown, but those who grow Bellone emphasise its quality. It has naturally high acidity and a rich, creamy, but balanced texture and dry, sweet, and sparkling wines are made using the grape.
Casale del Giglio plant Bordeaux varieties (which work extremely well in Lazio), but also more obscure local varieties like Bellone. Like the best Italian whites, it has a crisp, dry acidity but is a little fruitier with citrus, stone, and tropical fruit aromas. Tremendous value at $20.
Grape Variety: Bellone
Food pairing: mild spice or rich sauces. Casale del Giglio's website recommends Minestra di Sgavajone: "a typical soup from the fishermen of Anzio made with sgavajone, a local fish rarely found outside their family homes." The recipe is listed on their website.