Nestled in the northeast corner of Italy is the picturesque region of Veneto which is one of the premier wine producing regions in the country, if not the world. It is also the modern day home of Prosecco, Italy’s answer to French champagne. The climate, the soil and the tradition all lend themselves to a wine producing mentality which produces such varied types as Valpolicella (which translates as “valley of cellars”), the already mentioned Prosecco, Soave and Pinot Grigio. Although it is known mostly for the Valpolicella, this multifaceted region now proudly produces superior wines of all types.
Boasting two very distinct climatic zones, Veneto can be enjoyed at any time of year no matter your preference. It is generally classified as a sub-continental zone with ample rainfall and the protection of the Alps and the sea shielding it from icy north winds. This contributes to favorable grape growing conditions as mother nature blesses the vines, feeding them with love, warm sunny days and cooler nights. All this also makes the region pleasurable to visit any time of year.
As an aside, Soave became very popular in the 1970’s when it was produced in mass quantities, sometimes affecting the quality. That is no longer the case though, as Soave has now graduated and although it is somewhat less popular today, the quality has come a long way and is now at least on a par with other wines from the region.
Headed by Giancarlo Moretti Polegato, the family has devoted itself to tradition while incorporating modern methods with special attention to research and innovation. Melding these two worlds is never an easy task, but under his guidance the winery has achieved many successful results. Another family that has been able to pay homage to its roots and make its ancestors very proud. Today, the winery is headquartered in a 1622 Villa in the Prosecco Region. The family also owns the Borgo Conventi label which I reviewed earlier.
Now, Pinot Grigio wine is normally made with the Grauburgunder grape which can be kind of a gray-blue in color. It is, though, a white wine grape that is thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot Noir variety. Wines produced from this grape can vary in color from a deep golden yellow to a slightly copper and even a lighter shade of pink. Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio leans to the former color, being a light, pale yellow. On the nose, one gets the sense of some notes of pear and green apple, while on the palate, there are definite hints of citrus, pretty much a staple with Pinot Grigio, most notably lemon, lime and grapefruit, but there is also a nice, earthiness to it, a bow to the richness of the soil. We did allow the wine to aerate a bit in both the bottle and in the glass which I think added more to its allure than to the taste. While not a rich tasting beverage, it does have a very satisfying quality as it is very dry, no sweetness here at all, and only mildly acidic. This would actually be a very good choice for the average or the novice wine drinker because it is really a good lesson on what Pinot Grigio is all about. It is drinking very well now and should sustain its drinkability and quality.
This is a perfect accompaniment to a meal of maybe flounder with a stuffing of crabmeat, or a fresh green or caprese salad. A softer cheese such as fresh mozzarella drizzled with some EVOO and basil, or fresh linguini alfredo would also be perfect. It can easily stand up to lighter fare but would be lost with heavier fish dishes like a lobster or even salmon, both of which demand a more robust wine. As I look outside today, it is kind of miserable, cold, dreary and we have had some snow, not typical in this part of the country, and a nice glass of Villa Sandi would brighten it up and make you think of maybe the coming spring. What I am saying here is that it is perfect on its own, before dinner to welcome guests.
Alcohol – 12% (making it light enough to enjoy)
Price – about $12, and a bargain at that price as it compares to more expensive wines.
In all, I would rate this wine as a solid 8.75 out of an unattainable 10 grapes. It has value, flavor, appearance and tradition. As I said, it is drinking very well now and should last. A compliment to any table with an attractive label that delivers an appealing taste.