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On Wine

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Remember the Italian white wine that came in a fish-shaped bottle? Italian vintners have traditionally concentrated on making distinctive red wines, relegating whites to the blandness of summertime quaffs or washing down seafood. But the tide is turning. Think past soave and pinot grigio (usually insipid) to less familiar Italian selections like falanghina and insolia that deliver bold fruit and mineral flavors. The 2004 Terredora Falanghina Irpinia ($12) from Campagna is fresh and floral, made from a varietal that once fueled the Roman Empire. From Sicily come two light and crisp summery beauties: the 2003 Cusumano Insolia–Chardonnay “Angimbé” ($13) and the 2003 Cantine Foraci ($10), an insolia/catarratto blend. The biggest surprise: the 2004 Zenato Lugana San Benedetto ($13) from Veneto. It’s made from the trebbiano grape, which I’ve never given a second thought—but this one blew me away with its refreshing citrus, almond, and mineral flavors.

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