Summertime in central Pennsylvania is a wonderful mix of long days, cookouts and lightning bugs.
Weather can run the gamut of sweaty humidity to warm, sunny perfection. When you think that, if it were always like this, everyone would want to live here.
For wine lovers, it can sometimes be a confusing season to find the perfect quaff. We have our go-to wines, but with the quality and selection available, it’s time for something new. All one has to do is head straight to the Italian section of your local wine purveyor. White wines perfect for summer abound on the “boot” and its island neighbors, Sicily and Sardinia.
On the eastern part of Sicily is the sub-region of Etna and the volcano that shares its name. The vineyards are some of the highest in altitude on the island, planted on the slopes of a still-active peak. Blends dominate here, and most are Carricante and Greciano, which together produce dry, white wines with good acidity and minerality and notes of green apple. They’re a great match for salads and anything containing anchovies.
Other grapes that make good table wines are the indigenous Inzolia, either blended or bottled individually, and Grillo, the base for Marsala, which makes full-bodied quaffs for traditional Sicilian meals.
There are also good, fruity wines of light weight and slight sweetness. These are Moscato from the city of Noto and the Moscato of Alexandria, brought to the island by the Greeks. The latter is known famously as Zibibbo, a wine to look for in either sweet or dry versions.
The western coastal region of Campania is home to historic grapes that can trace their origins back to the ancient Greeks.
Falanghina is a workhorse grape that can be used for wines that can be dry and crisp, sparkling and refreshing, or late-harvested and sweet. All of these versions are worth searching out.
Another grape is Fiano, which reaches its zenith in the sub-region of Avellino. This quaff has nutty notes and is known as the pesto wine, as it is an obvious match for the green sauce. In my opinion, the best from this region is the grapey Greco di Tufo. Tufa is the name for a volcanic rock that the vineyards are planted on, which makes for a fruity, mouth-coating wine that seems like a grape-flavored oil. It’s a unique and wonderful libation.
The island of Sardinia has a history that can be traced back to the seafaring Phoenicians, who introduced winemaking to the region. However, it was really during the Spanish period, from the 14th to 18th centuries, that it became part of the culture. The main white grape is Vermentino, which can be traced back to Spain. The wine is very aromatic with scents of herbs and crisp, tangy notes.
On the Adriatic coast, the region of Marches gives us the Verdicchio grape, a relative of Greco, which gives us acidy wines with notes of green fruits and almonds.
All of these wines make great “summer sippers” and are worth seeking out to match the warm weather ahead.
Marotti Campi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2019
Ripe apple, pear and apricot notes mingle with details of mineral and a lovely almond edge. The pure palate has beautifully integrated acidity and good midpalate tension, finishing long and floral. A vibrant and complex Marche white from a great producer at an incredible price!
— Josh Hull, Chairman’s Selection® wine buyer
Planeta La Segreta Grillo Sicilia 2019
Clear yellow colour with green reflections; on the nose after a first dash of a sea breeze the primary varietal aromas of citrus, pears and oregano flowers are arriving. Fresh and smooth on the palate with fresh and elegant taste of lemon tart and pulp. As a fresh aperitif; ideal with fried vegetables and fish, pasta with sea urchins or mozzarella.
— Winemaker’s notes
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