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Delicious white wines of Italy

There has been an amazing increase in the consumption — of Italian wine in the United States. Per capita, Portland is the leading — consumer of Italian wines in the Unites States. This week I will write — you a brief outline of the delicious white wines of Italy as to region — and grape type, next time comes the incredible reds.

Italian wine labels are not easy to understand. Some wines — are listed by region, others by grape types and still other labels only — have a propriety designation claimed by a specific winery. It is no wonder — that the average wine lover shakes his head and moves on to labels and — countries where he is more familiar. Let's take a closer look at some — of the easier to find lovely Italian whites.

Pinot Grigio- There is no difference in the grape between — pinot grigio and pinot gris. Yes, they may taste differently but that — is because they come from different growing regions and from different — winemaker practices. This is also true of pinot gris versus another pinot — gris from different domestic wineries. Try to find pinot grigio at 12.5 — percent alcohol or a little over. This will ensure the wine will be dry. — Choose the wine from the region of the Veneto and/or Friuli which are — in the Northeast part of the Italian peninsula. This region will be listed — on the label.

Buy this wine not more than three years old if you can. — The fresher the better. This is one of the most popular white wines in — the world known for its crisp backbone and long thirst-quenching flavors, — just perfect with grilled fish or heavy white pastas. If you are tired — of the fleshy, oak bomb chardonnays and want sophisticated and flavorful, — try the pinot grigio. Pay over the ten dollar mark and you will be into — some real beauties.

Let the inexpensive ones go. For the most part the cheapies — are not worth exploring.

Orvieto- This wine comes from the lovely and elegant hill — town of Orvieto, Italy in the region of Umbria. This ancient village is — not far from Assisi and commands a breathtaking view of the Umbrian plains. — Try to visit the city when the great organ in the Duomo plays during Mass. — It is quite an experience. There are many wine shops and trattoria's which — serve this great north central white. You can find many of these dry and — palate gripped whites in the United States. The wine is characterized — by its heavier palate and refined minerally tastes. This is not a sipping — wine but asks for light to medium fare including antipasti and shellfish. — Stick to the $9 price tag or a little over, these are the better Orvieto. — I Like the wines from Mr. Barberani very much. Look for the designation — "Secco" which means "dry". The word "Amabile" is a very nice dessert Orvieto — which is a stunner on a warm summer day with fruit and cheeses.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano- The storied and quaint city — of San Gimignano with its various towers dotted throughout the landscape — makes a flinty and long finished white called "Vernaccia." These wines — are, for the most part, lightly oaked and finish with silky long flavors — and thirst-quenching acids. I drank Vernaccia in San Gimignano with marinated — grilled eggplant and red peppers, it was marvelous. Mr. Falchini, among — other great producers, makes a marvelous Vernaccia which is worth a special — effort to find.

Other great whites which are harder to find-Arneis from — the Piedmont, north west, as well as sauvignon blanc from Friuli. The — Italian sauvignon blancs are not the grassy whites we so often come across — in the United States but remain crisp and firm. The dry white offering — from Regaliali in Sicily is also wonderful and crisp. Explore the Sicilian — whites where the prices are under $10 and can be very good indeed! See — you next time with the blockbuster reds!

This is the second of three articles on the wines of Italy. —

Lorn Razzano has been a commercial wine and spirits judge — at state fairs in California, Oregon and Washington and is a co-founder — KSOR wine tasting. He was on winery staffs of various Italian and French — wineries in the 1970s, and has owned Ashland Wine Cellar since 1980.