After a visit to my local Italian wine guru, Lance Montalto of the Wine House in Los Angeles, I found myself loaded up with all kinds of new and interesting geeky Italian wine finds. One such treasure was so exciting I could barely wait 24 hours to open up the bottle… a lovely Verdeca from Masseria Li Veli.
Masseria Li Veli is the winery also responsible for another of my current obsessions- a Susumaniello so delicious its dark, fruity loveliness has not left my thoughts since I first tasted it (and learned how to pronounce Susumaniello).
I had never tasted this varietal before, at least not in purity. It’s probably been hiding in some other Pugliese white bend, or even in a vermouth or two, but nobody is as bold and fearless as Masseria Li Veli when it comes to resurrecting and promoting these seldom-sung heroes of the Italian wine grape world. They are one of the only wineries I know to vinify Verdeca alone, and with stupendous results.
The Verdeca is another of Masseria Li Veli’s cultural preservation projects, denoted by the “ASKOS” marking. “Askos”, meaning “wine jar” in ancient Greek, is a symbol for Masseria Li Veli’s projects most concerned with the protection and promotion of the most ancient autochthonous grape varietals and wine making practices.
This wine is lovely, bright yellow with pretty green reflections. It has a dusky, clean pear aroma reminiscent of those earth-colored Bosc pear skins. The palate is full of bright fruit, mellowed and balanced by a waxy, spicy note. Delicious wine, and perfect with a steaming bowl of Ramen. That salty, briny Ramen broth and the slippery steaming noodles just begged for the wine’s acidity and cool relief. A perfect balance… who would have guessed?