Posted by: tomciocco | September 12, 2012


The Valpolicella family (including of course, the wine for which there seems to be limitless demand, Amarone), Soave, and of late, Prosecco, are the only wines from the almost impossibly rich viticultural region of Veneto that almost anyone would have ever heard of. Familiar with the Arcole? What about Malanotte di Piave? Ever had a Corti Benedettine del Padovano? I think you get it…

Other Italian regions like Piedmont traditionally do not blend their stable of grape varieties, preferring instead to let each grape to speak for itself and with no one else – think Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino, and Barolo and Barbaresco, which are both made from 100% Nebbiolo). In Veneto, almost the opposite is true. Nearly all wines made here from traditional, native varieties (you’ll see plenty of pure Pinot Blanc and Carmenere wines, though) blend two, three, or more grape varieties to complete their final blend, and so it is with tonight’s Bianco di Custoza or just plain Custoza as it’s sometimes known.

Custoza sits to the city of Verona’s immediate east, and near, if not right on Lago di Garda. It’s a zone that tends to be a bit cooler and damper than its famous cousin Soave which rests immediately to Verona’s west in sunnier, southern-exposed hills. This particular Custoza blend is made from 40% Garganega (gar-ga-NEY-ga) 20% Trebbiano Toscano, 15% Trebbianello (treb-bee-ah-NEL-oh), which is a local name for the local clone of Furlan (F.K.A. Tocai), with the remaining 25% of the blend made up from other undisclosed local white grape varieties that dedicated growers thankfully haven’t turned their attention away from, just like you shouldn’t turn your’s away from one of their wines… 

Custoza is a fish wine per eccellenza, especially with freshwater fish, so for a first course, I made an anchovy, yellow squash, and pea risotto with a fish stock, and then lightly lemon and sage battered fried catfish, with a side of boiled potatoes.

Corte Gardoni Custoza 2011

Pale straw color with slightly greenish highlights. Pretty and gregarious nose of almond milk, vanilla bean, jasmine, wax, and a pastiche of apple, pear, and peach fruit. On the palate, the wine is fairly big, intense, and mouth-filling, with a slightly viscous texture that is well balanced by grippy, minerally, fresh and juicy flavors of candied fennel, pear nectar, lemon curd, and yellow cherry. Long herb and tea finish. A modern but honest wine. 


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