The results of the radical shake-up of Italian white wines over the last two decades continue to surface in the US markets, and this fall I had the chance to taste through a new range of wines available from Vias Wine. The wines of the grandly historic Castello di Spessa, which dates back to the 13th or 3rd century CE (either being plenty old!) offer an excellent representation of high quality winemaking with local varieties without wallet-emptying prices.

93
Friulano 2015
This is a remarkable – almost unbelievable – value. In this expression, this local variety (fka Tocai Friulano) shows oodles of pit fruit characters with fuzzy peach skin and lush nectarines playing key roles. Following on, there’s a juicy guava succulence that incorporates flavors of white pepper and grapefruit pith. The voluptuous, full body contributes a deeply flavorful, mouth-coating texture that delivers a very long finish. This is highly drinkable on its own, but its layers of nuance and well-balanced structure make it a very fine accompaniment at the table.
Drink: 2017-19

91
Ribolla Gialla 2015
This is a clean, crystalline expression of Ribolla Gialla that is delightfully accessible and generous with flavors of saffron, candied yellow apples and perky pomelo. Its creamy texture wraps around the tongue, as though trying to intensify its already impressive concentration. Somewhat viscous and rather full-bodied, this wine has a dynamic presence that works best with richer seafood and shellfish, especially if cooked in a curry base. There’s terrific pepper spice and mineral oomph here, from start to finish!
Drink: 2017-19

90
Pinot Bianco 2015
Even more intensely dusted with white pepper nuances than the Pinot Grigio (see below), this wine is incredibly lively. It’s a party on your palate! Yet, it is nonetheless elegant thanks to its integrated acidity and dynamic – yet delicate – array of flavors. There’s sweet spice, white tea, mirabelle plums and jackfruit. This wine also brushes the palate with a whisper of tannins on the finish, making it a terrific gastronomic wine with suave structure and plenty of charasmatic dignity.
Drink: 2017-18 

90
Pinot Grigio 2015
Pure and sophisticated, this pale, straw-colored wine smells of wet river rocks, yellow plums and dried-out, white Wonder Bread crusts. There’s a fennel bulb and cucumber core well as plenty of ground white pepper on the palate. Medium-plus in body, the wine’s high-ish alcohol is well-balanced. Mild acidity pulls the nicely diverse flavors into a moderately lengthy finish. Tongue-enveloping, moderate glycerol makes this as easy to appreciate alone as it is with food.
Drink: 2017-18

88
Sauvignon Blanc 2015
This wine’s nose leaves no question it is a Sauvignon Blanc. Well-delineated with high-frequency citrus zest, star fruit slices and freshly-snapped green beans, this wine’s exotic flavors and zippy acidity command attention. Moderate on the finish, this wine seems to be more about up-front pleasure than age-worthiness, but it certainly ticks all the boxes. If a Sauvginon Blanc from Italy can beat Marlborough in its demanding vibrance, this may well be the one.
Drink: 2017-18