Sölva 2010 Vernatsch (Alto Adige) – Anyone who’s taken one of the various flavors of formal wine education has spent some time studying color and the tales it tells…about variety, site, age, winemaking, alcohol level, and certain faults. In this age of orange wines (very few of which are actually “orange” as such) and cloudy, browned-out natural whites, the former lexicon is a bit tattered, but the generalizations still more or less hold. Personally, I no longer find the color of a wine of anything more than academic interest, which is why I almost never mention it; if I’m analyzing or guessing, it’s important, but I tend to think that people who find the color of their wine crucial (rather than just nice to look at) are kind of missing the point.
So I wonder what anyone – analyst or drinker – would make of the optics here. As pale as many a Jura red (paler, perhaps), tending towards early autumnals like a Piedmontese nebbiolo, but also including the more cosmetic blushes of a grignolino. I can’t quite decide if it’s beautiful or necrotic.
But how does it taste, Mr. I-Don’t-Care-About-Visuals? I return to the subject of grignolino, in its combination of sharp, somewhat gritty fruit with the velvety softening of minor (but not flaw-level) oxidation. It’s a little more purple-berried than that, and there’s a keening acidity that speaks of chilly nights and early winters. It’s a fascinating wine (to my memory, my first vernatsch), frankly, and I need to own more of it. (3/12)