A couple weeks ago, I found a bottle of blended white wine that consists of Mantonico Bianco (easily confused with Montonico Bianco, another Italian white grape grown in central and southern Italy) and Greco Bianco from the Lamézia DOC in the Calabria region of southern Italy. Greco is more commonly found in Greco di Tufo (discussed 5/25/2022). In the Lamézia DOC, white wine can contain a minimum of 50% Greco with the additional portion of the blend being one other white grape variety. The bottle I found was equal parts Greco and Mantonico. There are different DOC designations that have different requirements for their blends, like Lamézia Greco DOC, which requires 85-100% of the wine be composed of Greco Bianco. Mantonico, a less common grape, can be used in the production of sweet and dry wines, as well as varietal wines. During my search for data on this post, the grapes Mantonico and Montonico were often used interchangeably but are distinct grapes with unique genetic lineage.
The wine I selected was a 2020 Statti Lamézia Bianco from Lamézia DOC. The label contained a Veganok symbol, indicating the wine was certified vegan. During the production of wine, the use of animal products for clarification is a common practice. These substances are most notably items such as gelatin, isinglass (derived from fish bladder), casein (a milk protein) or egg whites. They are used to remove unwanted components from the wine that will result in improved color in the final product. Color and clarity are key factors used by consumers when deciding what wines to purchase. This wine was a bright lemon color with brassy highlights. As I swirled my glass, I noted many tiny specks swirling in the wine. These were a combination of small particles that weren’t removed during the clarification process (fining and filtering) and bubbles. The small particles are harmless but can seem unusual to consumers that typically buy wines produced by large volume wineries. Floral aromas of jasmine, orange blossom and honeysuckle combined with meyer lemon peel, candied oranges and petrol as I continued to swirl. This dry, heavier bodied, moderate alcohol and acid wine had a pithy bitterness similar to a combination of mandarin orange and meyer lemon pith. These merged with the aforementioned floral notes on the mid palate then washed away leaving the pithy character on the prolonged finish. This bright, fresh wine is best consumed while it’s still youthful. This wine would ideally be paired with fresh, white fish prepared simply on a warm summer evening.