The following post was written by Heinen’s wine expert, Ed Thompkins.
To the average wine fan, Italy and Italian wines likely conjure up images of rolling vineyards near steep mountains in Tuscany or Piedmont. That’s easy to understand, as many of the most familiar Italian wines hail from those regions (think Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Barolo, Asti, Prosecco, etc.).
An interesting thing happened to us on our way to discovering the secret gems of the Mediterranean wine world. Frankly, most of what we thought we knew about Italian wines has been wonderfully expanded with our tasting travels to Italy’s Mediterranean coast and islands.
As is the case with most of the wine-producing countries around the Med, the wines are a direct reflection not just of the sea’s maritime weather influence, but also by a very certain and specific Mediterranean lifestyle!
We look forward to introducing you to our newest Italian wine selections that are exotic, enthralling and intensely thought-provoking. They also taste pretty darn good, too! It goes without mention that these sun-soaked beauties are delicious with the bounty of foods that you can find at your local Heinen’s. We invite you to “taste travel” with us to Italy’s Mediterranean!
Tornatore Etna Bianco
What an explosive find – literally! This unique and complex white from the island of Sicily is grown on the northern side of Mount Etna, which is the highest active volcano in Europe. Carricante is the native and rare white grape that thrives in the altitude and the volcanic soils on Etna, which contributes a specific set of flavors that gives this wine a unique sense of place. What you’ll discover in the glass is a complex and textured treat, featuring notes of grapefruit and white peach complimented by extraordinary freshness and minerality.
Looking for something to eat with this? Without question, this is a wine that’s made for seafood. We love it with this truly Italian-inspired creation of Tuscan Scallop Pasta.
Poggio Al Tesoro Bolgheri Mediterranean Red
Coming to you from the relatively young, yet prestigious, appellation of Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, this red is a delightful wine that is distinctly Italian, but with French roots! Made from a decidedly classic French varietal cast of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verdot), the magic kiss of the Mediterranean transforms the wine into something that must be tasted to be believed.
This is a fragrant and intensely fruity gem with blackberry, cherry and plum notes framed by spicy aromas of white pepper. There’s plenty of intensity to stand up to the bold flavors of this delicious Tuscan Pork Tenderloin.
We can’t bring the Mediterranean to you, but we can deliver the perfect white sipper that will transport you there! This uniquely Sicilian blend of Cantaratto, Inzolia and Grillo (we know, unfamiliar names but VERY familiar tastiness!!) is truly a ‘must-try’. It is a sun-kissed beauty that has an intense bouquet of golden apple that leads to tropical fruit-like flavors that finish vibrant and extraordinarily refreshing.
Perhaps one of the great picnic wines ever created, we enjoy it with a traditional Caprese salad featuring fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and basil with a generous splash of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. YUM!!
Colosi Rosso Terre Siciliane
There’s no chance that we would forget a red counterpart to the white Grillo above. This soft and generous red is a blend of Syrah and the native Nerello Mascalese varietal that creates a wine that simply jumps out of the glass (or tumbler). Aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry and strawberries are balanced by a zesty finish that is long and complete.
On a hot day (on your picnic of course!), we recommend serving this wine with a slight chill and alongside DiBruno Gorgonzola spread (in Heinen’s Specialty Cheese Department) and crusty bread.