Two Italian whites that really knocked us out… (fight the power, fight the three-tier system)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! San Diegans and Southern Californians: please come out and taste my favorite Franciacorta with me and my bromance Giovanni on Saturday, February 25 at Jaynes Gastropub. And Houstonians, registration for seminars at the Taste of Italy festival March 6 is now open (click register and you will see the individual seminar registration options). I’ll be leading 4 tastings that day. Please join me!

furlani-bianco-alpinoAs much as the Houston and greater Texas wine scenes continue to grow and flourish, New York and California are still lightyears ahead of us in terms of the new Italian wines that importers are bringing to this country. It’s one of the reasons that I ask my favorite out-of-state American wine retailers to select and send me a mixed case of wines every year when the weather permits shipping to Texas.

It’s illegal for out-of-state retailers to ship here unless… the customer (like me) has access to a third-party shipper. I know that the thought of freedom to purchase wines from out-of-state is venomous to many passionate lovers (read lickspittles) of the hallowed “three-tier system.” And I apologize in advance for my transgression of their cherished and firmly entrenched hegemony.

But real women and men like to explore, experiment, and enjoy real wines and not just the wines that a bunch of old farty white men in a boardroom in Dallas Miami have decided they should enjoy.

A month or so ago, we received a mixed case from California that included the two wines above. And wow, what wines! Tracie P and I swooned over both bottles.

The Matteo Furlani Bianco Alpino is a blend of native Dolomite grapes that have been grown without the use of chemicals, spontaneously fermented in cement, aged in demijohn, and clarified by placing the demijohns in the snow outside the winery. The white fruit in this wine was mouthwatering and its freshness and low alcohol kept you coming back for another taste. Really lovely, especially at its around $25 price tag.

The Cacciagalli Aorivola comes from the Italian antipodes: Caianello township in “upper Caserta” (Campania). Tracie and I stumbled upon Caianello proper many years ago when we were desperately looking for something to eat (Tracie was pregnant with Lila Jane at the time) and we discovered a wonderful (and very famous) cheese monger there.

This 100 percent, biodynamically farmed Falangina is labeled as Roccamonfina IGT, a high-lying appellation with volcanic subsoils. The minerality in this wine was ELECTRIC. As odd as a synæsthesia as it may sound, it was like touching your tongue to the tabs of a 9-volt battery… but in a good way. And the wine’s saltiness was offset brilliantly by its luscious stone fruit. Another winner that really knocked us out, also around $25…

Texans, fear not: there are ways to circumvent the vinous tyranny of good-ol-boy Texas wine distribution (now based in Florida, home to even more farty, gun-toting, vote-restricting white people).

Fight the power, fight the three-tier system… Fight Texas’ un-American, anti-small-business out-of-state shipping restrictions…

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