Stephen Beaumont scored this wine: 92/100
Not far from Lake Garda in the Veneto region of North Eastern Italy, the local winemakers are busy making a red wine with which you are probably familiar - Bardolino. Overlapping that area of production is the DOC of Custoza. It is a little known wine outside Italy which is a shame as they can be interesting, and in the case of this particular offering from Gorgo, spectacular!
At a recent Italian wine tasting held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, I was amazed at the quality, complexity and just plain interestingness (if that is even a word!) of this blend of Garganega (the grapes used for Soave), Cortese, Riesling and Trebbiano. Up to 9 grape varieties are allowed in the Custoza blend and proportions are tightly controlled.
The deep straw-yellow colour was not at all what I had expected, but it was bright and clear. On the nose it was like a summer basket of apricots and peaches, and ripe ones at that, with a waft of flinty minerals. I was confused. Was I smelling a muscat from Alsace?I'm sure that's where I would have gone had I been blind tasting this, at least from that bouquet. And how wrong I would have been. On the palate, another surprise. Very dry with just the slightest suggestion of residual sugar, just enough to continue the peach sensation but somehow more savoury and deep, yet still vital and bright with enough acidity to balance that ample fruit. And this is a 2014 wine, bottled weeks ago but already with this level if complexity!
This is the fun of wine tasting - making new discoveries and then letting your mind soar into flights of fancy. What would I eat with this wine? As delicious as it was on its own, I would imagine it being even better with food. The tasting notes suggest raw or grilled fish and shellfish, white meats, rice and vegetables. Sound like sushi? I think this would be perfection and I cannot wait to find a bottle to try with my next bento box. Sadly I may have to do this in USA (where amazingly it sells for around $18/btl) as it is not yet available in Canada. Or I can jump on an international Lufthansa Business Class flight where they are serving to their lucky passengers.