Friday, March 13, 2009

Italian Wine Lists (Sigh)

We went to Notti Bianche the other evening. We've had very good meals there during the past year or so. But, on this particular night, we ended up leaving within five minutes.

Why? The menu items simply didn't look that interesting to us. But the main reason was that the wine list was such a downer. Their selection of whites was okay, but the choice and prices of reds was very disappointing. It looked to me as though they had raised their prices since the last time we were there.

A bottle of Nebbiolo from California for $140? You've got to be kidding me. And they didn't have a single riserva Chianti on the list.

The only pinot noir was from Oregon. Ugh. Pinots from Oregon are flimsy; they have no backbone. You might as well be drinking a rose wine from Provence. The only bottle on the list that looked intriguing to me was the Super Tuscan. But I was suspicious of a Super Tuscan for only $34.

I love Italian food, but I don't love the typical Italian wine list. Why did Notti Bianche feel the need to have four different Barbera wines on its list? Except for pasta, Barbera is a red wine that just can't stand up to most meats. Nice bouquet, but that's about it.

And I think Valpolicella is a perfectly adequate red wine. You can call it "superiore" or "classico" all you want, but Valpolicella simply can't hold a candle to a Brunello di Montalcino or a Vino Nobile, but none of the latter wines were on Notti Bianche's list.

It's laughable that Valpolicellas typically sell for the three-digit prices they do. Someone must be shelling out that money, but who?

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