Sunday, April 24, 2005

Poggio Alle Gazze...R.I.P.
Saying Goodbye to An Old Favorite

Toscana I.g.t., Poggio Alle Gazze 2000, Ornellaia ($28….nowhere)
My turntable is broken so I can’t listen to Elton John’s ‘Funeral for a Friend,’ but as I am turning 40 tomorrow I in someway feel in the right frame of mind to do this review. The Poggio was Ornellaia’s sole white bottling to my knowledge, a Sauvignon Blanc distinctly Italian, a bottle which I have followed, drunk and enjoyed over a number of millisèmes.

It had none of the grapefruit of Bordeaux, even less of the exotic fruit of New Zealand Sauvignon, and perhaps just an allusion to the herbaceous character of Loire. What it did have was ‘melon-ness,’ a mix of cantaloupe, honeydew and with perhaps a hint of passion fruit. Less ripe and woody than your average American, it had just enough acidity to keep it from being flabby. And while it was a far cry from the wrenching acidity of great cool climate Sauvignon, it was hospitable, elegant and charming. It accompanied a spring roll feast to perfection, embracing the shrimp, mint, ginger and soya. It was easy.

But the great Bolgheri, super-tuscan house of Ornellaia was recently purchased by the Frescobaldi-Mondavi monolith and a decision was made to uproot the Sauvignon in favor of the ‘lesser known,’ indigenous varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Perhaps they will make an extra case or two of Ornellaia or perhaps a dozen more Le Volte. Both are fantastic wines, but I can’t help but feel a bit sad this evening as the last sip of Poggio is drained from my glass. Another great memory to add to the roll of impressions and feelings that make up the first half of my life, and as tonight I begin the second half, a great memory to build on.

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