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.

Castello di Gabbiano Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2012

Back to the Italians for a pleasant, brisk white wine.  Yes, it’s a Pinot Grigio!

Winemaker:  Castello di Gabbiano
Wine:  Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Venezie IGT, Italy
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  On the nose I found citrus, pear and spice.  It was fairly light-bodied – appropriately so.  Flavors for me were an abundance of citrus, some creamy pear, spice notes and even a little hint of apple here and there.  On the finish I found a very present bitter grass with an underlying minerality.  Alcohol was at 12.5%.  Acidity was very good.  I can totally see this wine served up with a fish dish in a light sauce or perhaps a nice chicken piccata.

Contadino Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2012

Here is another Italian wine – this one from Veneto in the northeast – to take a look at.  I have to say that previously the Pinot Grigio’s I’ve had were made mostly by American wineries.  Although this varietal reportedly originated in the Bourgogne/Burgundy region of France, seems like the Italians do alright with this grape, too.

Also, for those of you who aren’t TJ fans or don’t have one of their stores nearby, worry not!  I have a backlog of these TJ selections in my wine rack, but I am drinking and will be posting about wines outside the TJ sphere of influence.

Winemaker:  Contadino
Wine:  Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Venezie IGT, Italy
Price:  $4.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  OK.  So you know already I thought it was decent.  Here’s why.  I experienced a light-bodied wine that showed very light yellow in the glass.  In keeping with it’s lightness, it didn’t have a huge bouquet.  What I did get on the nose, though, were hints of peach and lemon.  On the palate, the core flavors I found were pear, lemon and peach.  Then near the end came a quick little zing of lemongrass.  On the finish the citrus lasts and lasts.  Alcohol is 12%.  Acidity is good.  Was there a weakness?  Well, it sometimes seemed a little flaccid in the mid palate where – evidently – Pinot Grigio is supposed to do it’s best work.  But it’s $4.99 a bottle.  Serving a gently seasoned white fish tonight?  You could do worse than to serve this along with it.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.