Frascati and Muscadet
Frascati is made in central Italy from Malvasia and Trebbiano, two of the most neutral grapes I know. Malvasia generally has higher ripeness and a fuller body, so blending with the higher acid Trebbiano makes for a pleasant wine. I thought this Frascati had an awful lot of aromatics (I probably shouldn’t have picked a Frascati ‘Superiore’, which I am guessing is a Frascati higher in alcohol, so will have higher aromatics). Starting with the Frascati, like I said there were more aromatics than I thought there would be. It was nearly tropical, indicating a warmer climate. The acid seemed to be high until I tasted the Muscadet. While still writing down components to a traditional tasting note, I concluded that the Frascati was a soft and refreshing wine and its relative neutrality on the palate would make it an excellent aperitif.
Muscadet always smells musty – nearly corked - to me. I believe that to be the lees talking. Aromatically, this wine was even more neutral, though I did get that pure lemon aroma and flavor. There was a bit of CO2 prickle on the tongue and really mouthwatering acid. My personal preference says this is not a very pleasant drink, but I could imagine it being a lovely mignonette for oysters.
Here was the step up in style and quality (by design). A darker color suggesting more ripeness and/or extract, and textbook Gewürztraminer aromatics easily jumping from the glass: perfume, perfume, perfume, plus a little tropical note. The palate was softer and much fuller in body, which allowed for a longer finished compared to the two above. It also seemed slightly off-dry, a little more red apple (so again, ripe), and even had a little spiciness/bitterness on the finish.
Going from the Gewürztraminer back to the Frascati and Muscadet not only highlighted the more ‘noble’ nature of the Gewürztraminer grape, but also the higher quality: Gewürztraminer had a longer length that was layers and layers of tropical fruits and spices. It probably helped somewhat that, by design, the Francasti and Muscadet retail for around $13 and the Gewürztraminer was $22.
Maybe Too Easy
The tasting was designed to focus on different style and quality levels and that was definitely achieved. It was helpful to go about this tasting with the intention of quieting my analytical mind and focusing on the quality and the setting that such a wine of this style would be served. Next up will be a look at terroir and quality.
* Borgo del Cedro Frascati Superiore 2010 $13.50, 13.5% abv
* Hautes Noelles (Serge Batard) Muscadet Sur Lie 2010 $13, 12% abv
* Paul Blanck Gewurztraminer 'Classique' 2010 $22.50 (for 750ml), 14% abv