Some of Northern Italy’s most tantalizing wines originate from obscure white grapes that have maintained a unique regional identity while adapting perfectly to their specific mountainous growing conditions. All of these Tre Venezie whites are aromatic, thrilling, moderately priced local specialties. Yes, folks, there is life beyond pinot grigio!
Di Lenardo “Toh!” Friulano, Grave Doc, 2013
Fruity, subtly perfumed and gentle in style, this is Friuli’s signature grape. Known as tocai until recently, it’s floral and earthy, with notes of apricot and pear, and a bright core of minerality.
($12, Fifth Ave Liquors, Framingham)
Sut Ribolla Gialla, Delle Venezie IGT, 2012
Despite never spending any time maturing in wood, this lees-aged beauty is a richly textured, nutlike, toasty delight. Grown in the same hillside environs as the friulano, it’s a fuller, crisply tart expression, with abundant peach, apple and citrus flavors.
($15, Marty’s Fine Wines, Newton)
Abbazia Di Novacella Kerner, Alto Adige, 2012
Kerner is one of the many varietal crossings that derive from the finicky but extraordinarily flavorful riesling grape. With aromas of delicate garden herbs and spring apple, it is a crisp, clean, medium-weight charmer. Full of spice, with mineral-like intensity and juicy fruit flavors, this attention grabber should be a go-to wine for any summer dining occasion.
($20, Wine & Cheese Cask, Somerville)