The Food Maven Diary
Wine Splurge: Tocai Friulano
The elegance of this week's Wine Buy begins even before you open it and you admire the graceful line of its long-necked, dark-green bottle and note the carefully designed craft-paper brown label. Then you note it's gorgeous green-tinged straw color, the aroma of nuts, the citrus and pear flavors. From first look to finish it seems to be a wine in an Armani suit.
Stylish and polished are other words that came to mind on my first taste, which was just before Carol Berman and I went on the air. I suspected that Tenuta Villanova Monte Cucco Collio Tocai Friulano 1999 was not as inexpensive as our usual weekly wine. "We'll have to call it a Wine Splurge," Carol admitted. "It costs about $15.99."
To explain the label:
In the smallest type, the producer is noted as Tenuta Villanova, which is celebrating its 500th anniversary (that's not a typo), also noted on the label. Carol says Tenuta Villanova also produces beautiful Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco. Monte Cucco means "mountain owl" and a picture of an owl is on the label, too. The grape variety is Tocai and the wine is from Friuli, the most northeastern region of Italy. Hence the name Collio Tocai Friulano. Collio just means "hill."
Carol thinks she wants to drink this alongside sea bass. I think it would be great with any fin fish. Or with a seafood or vegetable-sauced pasta. But really, because of its nutty aroma and pear finish, and because I think I might want to drink this apart from a meal, perhaps before a meal as an aperitif, I immediately thought of the fabulous Washington State hazelnuts that I always keep in a jar on my kitchen counter.