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My wife and I arrived at a beautiful old converted nunnery in Pienza,Tuscany on New Year’s Eve. It’s a great hotel called La Bandita Townhouse in case you are visiting the region. The late afternoon had already turned crisp, and having heard what a great restaurant the hotel had, and having booked the NYE special set dinner, my mind turned to Brunello di Montalcino – the great Sangiovese red from the village a few minutes away. What a surprise then when I was told at the reception as we checked in that this evening’s menu was all seafood. What to drink?!
Well, lucky us, because not only was the seafood meal amazing, but because of it we also discovered on our first night a fabulous white wine they had listed called Orto di Venezia. ‘Orto’ means garden, and this wine comes from the small farmland island of San Erasmo in the lagoon by Venice. I worried that such a wine might be a bit of a gimmick, but it turned out to be both serious (Alain Graillot consults) and delicious — fragrantly fruity, and floral, full on the palate, but pure, fruity, mineral-laden, tangy – with lip smacking acidity, and a long fruity complex dry finish. It’s a blend of local grape varieties, but the lead grape – Malvasia – gives it this almost musky tangy fruitiness and crispness.
We were hooked, and each day for the rest of our stay we drank one bottle of this wine, and we were told on the last night we stayed that we had just finished their last bottle.
Some things are meant to remain as happy holiday memories, but on the way home my wife reminded me that I am in fact a wine merchant…
So, here we are, now the proud agents of this terrific Italian white wine. We’d love for you to try it