Fontana Candida Frascati 2013

I love the name of this winery – a member of the Banfi family of brands – because it elicits in me personal memories/connections.

I have only had one other selection from this vintner – their Pinot Grigio delle Venezie.  At the time, I had just finished reading a biography of the modernist composer John Cage who wrote a piece called “Fontana Mix”, composed while he was living in a flat in Italy.

But the second part of their name – Candida – which can mean white, pale, naive or innocent – reminds me of the satire Candide written by Voltaire and the derivative operetta of the same name with music by Leonard Bernstein and libretto by Lillian Hellman.  What memories that word brings to the fore!!

You see, some years ago I had the honor of being a swing for a professional production of the operetta Candide here in my local town.  The production began elsewhere and then transferred to my town for a couple of months.  When they arrived, they had everyone in tow but their swings – understudies who learn and cover chorus and small roles (usually 5 or 6 roles at a time).  They called me to audition, I got the part, and then I had just over 2 weeks to learn music, lines, blocking (placement/movement on stage) and dance.  Holy cow!  Even more enjoyable was the fact that the dance captain who was supposed to be teaching the swings (2 male, one female) their movement and dance, didn’t actually know the dances. Oh, he knew HIS movement and dance.  But he didn’t know OUR movement and dance.  So we spent quite a bit of time watching him watch the archival recordings of the show in order to then be able to teach us.  Not surprisingly, we all felt a little behind when opening night came around.  Eventually I did get to go on for one of the roles, and it went well.  Whew!

Oenophilogical_FontanaCandidaFrascati2013Winemaker:  Fontana Candida
Varietal:  White Blend
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Frascati DOC, Italy
Price:  $11.41

Notes:  According to the Fontana Candida website, this Frascati is made from Malvasia Bianca Di Candia, Trebbiano Toscano, and Malvasia del Lazio grapes.  At 12.5% alcohol, it was light-bodied and brisk in it’s acidity.  Light yellow in the glass, it exhibited plenty of lemon and chrysanthemum in the bouquet.  On the tongue I tasted lemon, grass, some citrus zest near the close and a nutty note on the finish. I enjoyed it quite a bit (despite the memories it may have dredged up) and think this wine’s overarching citrus will make it a great companion for many fish and seafood dishes.

* The video trailer above is not from the production in which I participated.

Advertisements

Fontana Candida Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2011

I love it when life imitates art and vice versa.  What am I rambling on about now?  Well, I’ve been reading (am still reading) a book about the modernist composer John Cage.  He was an interesting guy.  I suppose he’s best known for composing a piece of music that is four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence called 4′ 33″.  Of course, that wasn’t his only composition.  He explored lots of new avenues, including electronic music when electronic music was brand new.  And he is credited as the inventor of the prepared piano.  A prepared piano is one in which the strings have been manipulated with additional items being attached to the strings to create very different sounds.  But the sounds are carefully planned and created.  Some of his pieces also rely on what he called indeterminacy – and that’s a whole other ball of wax I won’t get into here.

rigio2011Anyway, Mr. Cage did a lot of traveling during his career.  At one point he spent some time in Italy and rented a flat from a woman named Fontana.  While in residence there, he composed one of his more famous pieces and named it after his landlady, calling it Fontana Mix.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I recently found this bottle of Pinot Grigio on the shelves of my local grocer!

Winemaker:  Fontana Candida
Wine:  Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Venezie IGT, Italy
Price:  $10.99

Notes:  Bottled in the winemaker’s cellars at Monte Porzio Catone, this Pinot Grigio was a pale straw color in the glass.  On the nose I smelled citrus (lemon), grass, honey and floral notes.  The body was light and acidity was good.  At 12% alcohol, this Italian white is a little off dry, but the acidity helps give it balance.  On the palate I tasted light flavors of lemon, grass and artichoke with a touch of honey.  There is also lemon zest which lingers on the fairly long finish.  I liked it.  I’ll have to look for the 2012 on the shelves as this was on half price markdown – to move the last few bottles in stock, I assume.  Yep, that means I paid $5.49 this time around.  But I’d gladly pay full price if the next vintage is anything like this one.  Thank you, John Cage, for giving me the inspiration to try this bottle of Italian vino.

Here is a rendition of John Cage’s Fontana Mix for your entertainment and edification.  If you have the time and inclination, head over to Youtube and read the text accompanying this video which explains the piece and it’s “indeterminate” composition.