Saturday, February 11, 2017

Savoury Musk

I suppose I should have expected it.  Muscat has such a wide range of styles and flavours.  I adore the lighter, floral styles we make in our cooler New Zealand climate.  And the delightful Moscato d’Asti sparklers from Italy are so light and delicious.  If I want something more serious, I can pick up a bottle of table wine Muscat from Alsace, in drier for and sweeter.  Then there are the moderately rich wines from Pantelleria.  For something full-blown, and super decadent I can sip on a Rutherglen Muscat, or even one of the Muscat-based sherry blending material, now fashionably bottled on its own to sit alongside the PX wines.  Of course I’m oversimplifying things as there are much more variations of style and to the Muscat grape itself.
But I wasn’t expecting what we got with the 2012 Marco de Bartoli ‘Pietranera’ Zibibbo Terre Siciliane.  From Pantelleria, the Zibibbo is also the Muscat of Alexandria variety, here grown on volcanic black stone soil (Pietra Nea), given a day’s skin contact and fermented in tank and one-thir in barriques.  It was a warm evening, and SWMBO and Jo-Lo were in the mood also for something aromatic, light and refreshing.  We should have realised the wine, being from the said volcanic soils and a warmer climate, made with some textural inputs in mind might not have been ideal.  Indeed, it was somewhat golden (possibly the VinoLok closure played a part) and the musky Muscat fruit had moved to a more savoury, yellow stonefruit and nutty spectrum.  Even a hint of oxidative detail.  And there was texture, exacerbating the dryness.  This was not a sip-alone wine, but needed something to eat.  So out came the cheeses, and all was fine…

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