Monday, October 20, 2008

Costalupe Illuminati Controguerra Bianco (2005)

So, Leah sends me an email a half hour before I leave work. "Can you pick up a bottle of white wine on your way home for deglazing?" Now I'm still not exactly sure what deglazing is, but I say sure. As I walk into our local liquor store, I immediately head for the clearance rack and find a bottle labeled "Illuminati." I've always been fascinated by conspiracy theories, so of course it catches my eye. It's a white wine (per my wife's instructions), it's under $10 (marked down from $12.99 to $9.99) and the label says it's dry, so it meets my three criteria.

The funny thing is, I have no idea what the hell a "controguerra bianco" is (though I'm assuming the first word means "anti-war?"). A google search only found Italian pages and poorly-translated English pages, so I still wasn't entirely sure what it is. Further searching has revealed Controguerra is a region of the Teramo province of Italy. So all I had figured out is it's a white wine from the Controguerra region of Italy. Um, okay... Finally, I found this page which proved that Illuminati is the winery, and I guess Costalupo is the style?

Anyway, on to the review. The nose on this wine is rather tart. You pick up just a hint of a floral, almost herbal aroma, but it's dominated by what I could best describe as an acidic smell. Taking a sip, the wine feels a little heavy and isn't really sweet up front. In fact, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the initial flavor is. It's very subdued, with hints of apple and pear but tart and alcoholic more than anything. As you swallow, it indeed finishes dry--and again an acidic tang--but it doesn't have that fruitiness up front that I expect from a white wine (even a dry one). It also doesn't have any oakiness or anything else to hang your hat on. It's just kind of there.

So, on the patented Chibebräu Wine scale (skip it, only if it's on sale, or buy it again), I'll have to rate this one: skip it. But on the plus side, it's made me realize one of the things I like from a good white wine: fruitiness. While I really like my white wines dry, dry and fruity can go together (insert your own joke here). Just as a good Pilsner has a strong malt profile up front before the crisp, dry finish, so can a good white wine have a nice fruity flavor profile before the dry finish. Now if only I knew how to apply this knowledge to other white wines (since I'm assuming there aren't a ton of costalupe controguerra biacos floating out there).

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