Venica 2008 Friulano sauvignon blanc

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on February 27, 2010:

A 35-year old FL lardass woman was accidentally shot when she entered an Atlantic City bar. “They said my love handles saved my life”, never thinking rationally that if she was thinner, the bullet would have missed her. Gotta luv east coast logic. A 38 year-old AL man was arrested for beating another man with a: (a) Auburn U. pennant, (b) a KKK flag, or (c) a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. This is Alla-bammy folks, don’t give them credit for knowing what the rest of the world does with a bottle of condiment. And lastly, Ohio police officers got drunk on the job so colleagues could practice conducting field sobriety tests. Next up, they ask colleagues if they understand their Miranda rights after being shot in their love handles.

Tonight’s wine pick is a solemn salute to the unfortunate floor shaker down in Chile. What, WAwineman? What does an Italian wine have to do with last night’s 8.8 rocker? Well, for one thing, I do not have a Maipo Valley can of juice in my cellar. Imagine all the lost bottles of carmenere down there. Another is…do you remember last April 6th’s 6.6 over in…Abruzzo, Italy? There’s your connection. It was that or opening Arbor Crest’s merlot. AC’s historic Cliff House caught fire last Dec. 23. Oh, the tragedies that surround us. That’s why we have wine to help us forget, at least temporarily, that all’s not well in the world and we have to do our part by keeping our spirits uplifted.

Venica & Venica (winery) has been around since 1930 and is situated in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia northeast region of Italy, with the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC), or appellation, of Collio. The region itself predominantly produces white wines. The grape, Friulano, goes by several names: Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon vert, and Sauvignonasse. Another connection with Chile is this was mistaken for sauvignon blanc…kinda like carmenere was mistaken for merlot. The difference was Chileans uprooted friulano in favor of sauvignon blanc, whereas they kept the carmenere in the ground. Friulano has no connection with sauvignon blanc, other than similar canopies and berry clusters. Friulano also lacks the acidity and bold citrus flavors found in good sauvignon blancs. Such as it is, friulano is mostly confined to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, where it accounts for over 20% of total vineyard acreage.

Tonight’s food pairing was good ol’ cheap Chinese take-out from Panda Express. Either I haven’t been to a good Chinese restaurant lately (true) or I’m beginning to think Panda Express makes some decent Chinese food (possibly true). Probably their best item on the menu is their crispy fried shrimp. I am a closet fried-shrimp fiend, having made this regularly with my grandmother long ago to rave reviews. The tangy sauce accompaniment is a plus. Overall, all the menu items get a passing grade and have been in my regular rotation of junk-food crisis management for some time. As for the wine, well, hopefully I think this is the best the grape will ever get. I would have preferred a pinot grigio’s fruitier profile but I still think this was a better choice than drinking a merlot with cheap Chinese. Compromise. It’s not something that sits well with me, but…it is what it is.

Color: bright honey. Nose: lemon, peach, honeyed almonds. Mouthfeel: some pinot grigio sweet-tartness. Tail trail: 3 seconds. Flavors: watered-down lemon, dilute lime, quite full-bodied. Might make for a good mixer with sweeter elixirs like Midori or add-in with Long Island iced teas, which means the “in” crowds at nightclubs (drink with pinkie-up). I “heard” Venica’s sauvignon blanc is served at Wynn Las Vegas’s top restaurant, Alex, so don’t think this is a cheap wine manufacturer. Friulano probably goes better with heavier sauced-pastas.

Italian grapes. Music pairing: “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)” by the Four Preps. Alcohol: 13%. TA 0.48%. Aged on the lees for 5 months in steel. Recommended with fish and white meats (preferably Adriatic-origin). Rated: 87. Value: $11. Paid: $22. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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