It has been a while since we reviewed an Italian wine, but how can the Wine Rambler resist if a bottle almost magically materialises in front of him? This one was brought all the way from Italy by my friend Steve, who contributed it to a blind tasting I hosted a little while ago at the London headquarters of the Wine Rambler. As far as I can remember this is my first encounter with the Greco Bianco grape, a variety of Greek origin that the people in Campania use for making the Greco di Tufo wine. So let's be Italian for a moment.
Our Greco di Tufo comes from Feudi di San Gregorio, an estate located in an area where records tell us of a wine growing history going back more than 2,500 years. The estate is a little younger though and was founded by the couple Enzo Ercolino and Mirella Capaldo in the mid-1980s. Their vines are grown on volcanic and sandstone ground about an hour or so away from Naples and they seem to take great pride in the modern facilities they use to produce their wines. The Greco di Tufo is usually aged 4-6 months in stainless steel tanks, the website tells us.
The colour of the wine is a straw yellow and quite pretty. The bouquet was a little less exciting at first, almost neutral in its chalkiness. After warming up for a little while the Greco opened up, exposing us to a fresh and crisp nose whose chalkiness was enhanced by aniseed, sweets, unripe banana, toasted almonds and mushroom. There was an interesting contrast between a certain sharpness and a fruity creaminess, described by one of the judges as "body shop mandarin hand lotion as opposed to fresh mandarin". Still not exactly an exuberant nose, but not unpleasant. On the tongue a crisp wine dominated by chalk and mineral and a crisp, fresh finish; over time it became a little fruiter, adding for instance grapefruit and lime.
A nicely balanced wine that needs a little time but makes for a pleasant but not mind-blowing entertainer.