“Il vino dal Tralcetto” (The wine from Tralcetto”)
Bolognano is a small town in the Abruzzo region of Italy housing a tiny region within known as Tralcetto. Although many people know this it bears repeating that this region produces about the finest table wines in the world. The climate, the topography all lend themselves to winemaking. But even more so, it is the love of the finished product, the pride in ownership and craftsmanship and an occasional bow to tradition which makes wines from this part of the “boot” so consistently delicious. Cantina Zaccagnini is no exception. Started in 1978 as a family business this winery has seen a dramatic growth ever since.
Now, I admit that I do have a certain fondness for the reds as my preference lies there. But at this time of year I will take an occasional foray into the whites simply because they are a little lighter not only in color and appearance, but in taste, and this is certainly no exception. Sometimes it is a little tougher to think of, say a chianti, as being refreshing. But with a white, a pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc, the color, the look alone just beckons, and dares a thirst to linger. And in this case, don’t let the appearance mislead. There is plenty of flavor and body to this wine. A very distinct finish of citrus, especially lemon with a slight hint of melon will leave you very well satisfied. This is a well balanced wine with a crisp, refreshing finish. Not sweet, but with just enough tartness due to the influence of the citrus. But make no mistake, this is a dry white wine in the vein of a true pinot grigio.
And talk about tradition.The bottle is a classic design with a distinctively special touch in that each bottle has a piece of its vine tied to it. The wine is made from grapes harvested from a single vineyard just outside the town of Pescara, on the Adriatic side of Italy about 30 miles or so from the shore. There, the estate of Ciccio Zaccagnini is managed by Marcello Zaccagnini, the director of the operation,who together with his master winemaker Concezio Marulli, have modernized the operation but sticking with the traditional side to produce a consistently fine product. Again, bowing to tradition and adding to the character of the wine, the total experience if you will, as I mentioned above, each bottle is adorned with the “tralcetto,” a small piece of the vine around its neck.
Cantina Zaccagnini also does produce a red wine which is also excellent. More about that in a later article. For now, it is this pinot grigio which deserves high praise in every phase, the appearance of the bottle and label, the design and shape of the bottle, the added touch of the tralcetto and the clarity of the finished product. I find this to be a delightful wine in a moderate price range, around $15. Remember, it is not the price of the wine which gives it the flavor. It is the quality of the grape, the expertise and care in blending, the nod to tradition and value. You can easily spend so much more and be well satisfied. Of course, there is a huge difference between a Lamborghini and a Corvair, but the difference involves a lot more than price. It is more important to bow to a preference and what makes you comfortable. The experience of wine tasting should be enjoyable from purchase to recycling the bottle.
So, pair this wine with grilled chicken or delicate fish. Enjoy it with your favorite pasta dishes. Or be bold enough to try it on its own. The experience will be totally your own, and I can almost guarantee an exceptional one.