Ettore Germano produce a number of interesting wines in Langhe (Piedmont). This wine is made from the nascetta grape, an Italian white that apparently came close to being forgotten. It is a good thing hasn’t.
Part of the point of this wine blog is to talk about wines like this and hopefully disparage the notion that everything has to be a cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay or something with a familiar profile. There are many wines, made from many grapes, that deserve your attention. The grape is native to the Piedmont area (and some sources say it is the only white grape native to the area). It is quasi-aromatic and has some vegetal or floral elements.
It is hard for me to go into as much detail as I might with other wines. I have only ever tried this one version of nascetta! Check out this article for more information.
This wine has a sharp bitter finish. When I was trying to figure out what the initial flavors in this wine ,the finish punched me in the face. This is the impression right out of the bottle but with some air it changes a great deal. This nascetta might well be a wine you want to decant for 45 minutes or so. This isn’t shocking when you compare this wine with another Italian white wine we've tried--fiano (although this is much different). That wine required a solid 2 hours of air. This one might even need more air. I saved some for day two and it was really showing well. If you find a bottle? DECANT!
You get a mouth-drying sensation that you usually find with a red wine's tannins here right out of the bottle but the air brings out subtle flavors and creates more continuity. Also? What I refer to as "the finish"? Well maybe that isn't the finish.With some air the flavors of this wine linger on the palate. This is, above all, a great wine for food. It has firm acidity and would be at home with robust dishes featuring gorgonzola or other rich cheeses.
Take some time with this wine. It has definite floral and herbal qualities to go with that bitterness. Fruit isn't the most obvious sensation from this wine. The floral aspects call to mind honeysuckle (as always do not this mistake it for sweet). There is something akin to tropical fruit here but I cannot pinpoint one. There is citrus, perhaps something lemony in this wine. There is a firm acidity throughout here which gives the wine a solid backbone.
Hopefully we will all see more nascetta imported in coming years.