Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bombino Bianco - Another Great Grape Name

Generally, I think it's worth it to pick up a bottle of wine when it features a grape varietal that's been previously unknown to me - especially when pronouncing the grape name is entertainment in itself.  I say, "generally," because I'd be hard pressed to throw down $30+ for a bottle just because it's exotic, but untried.

Luckily, I didn't have to face big coin to grab tonight's bottle.  Bombino Bianco might not be quite as romantic as saying Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo but it's still good fun compared to most of the grape varietals seen more regularly on the shelves.  And I get to add another grape to my Wine Century Club tally - #140, I do believe.

1287.  2008 Cantele - Telero Bombino Bianco (IGT Puglia - Italy)

When taking a look online to find something out about the varietal, I happened upon a great post on the Fringe Wine blog that tells a far more comprehensive story about the grape than I'd ever attempt.  I'm just going to quote an excerpt that I found wittily succinct:

"So our current situation is essentially this: we find ourselves in Puglia with a grape called Bombino Bianco, which is sometimes called Pagadebit, but which is different from the Pagadebit in Emilia-Romagna, or is at least different from some of the grapes called Pagadebit there, and which was also thought to be identical to Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, but is not.  Our Bombino is, as the Pagadebit synonym (and the more colourful Stacchia Cambiale synonym, meaning "tear up the invoices") suggests, a cash crop, grown primarily because it yields explosively and reliably.  Few producers bother with bottling the wine, and a great deal of it is shipped to Germany, where it is bottled as ordinary, anonymous EU Table Wine.  Nicolas Belfrage's assessment of the potential quality of the grape is summed up when he says 'Bombino Bianco can make as dull and tasteless a wine as you could hope to find.'  He mentioned that some producers are experimenting with lower yields in an effort to coax some character from the grape, but ultimately says that wines produced even from these estates are 'more for the drinker than the thinker.'"

Hardly a ringing endorsement of the grape or the wine, but this is where limited expectations and reasonable price tags help play a role in promoting exploration.

I have to say that there wasn't anything exciting to point out about this wine.  Expressive with neither acidity, nor fruit, it was more generic than delicious.  It's rather unlikely that Bombino Bianco is going to become our house white - that is, not until "our house" is a coastal home where we can sup on the daily catch while relaxing on our patio overlooking the Mediterranean.  The wine might suit that occasion - too bad that whole scenario is rather improbable.

In the mean time, while we face the day in Vancouver, I'm still pretty jacked about adding Bombino Bianco to my Wine Century Club tally.

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