TN: Good Italian whites, and some matching hits/misses

Monday we had a new roast chicken recipe (from Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe, a light spice rub then aired in fridge for 2 days). Served some opened 2000 Lanessan (previously noted), and the 2002 Scarbolo Pinot Grigio. Light crisp wine with green apple fruit accented by a hint of lime, not really big enough to stand up to the chicken (though the spices were subtle). Decent enough summer quaffer though, a B on my easy scale. Actually, the PG was too light, and the Bordeaux was too much, this dish would have gone well with a bigger white or a lighter red. As has happened before, I found myself preferring the red with the dark meat and the white with the breast.
Tuesday was beef stroganoff. Betsy has 2 stroganoff recipes, a Pierre Franey and the one she calls "1950s cookbook." This was the older one (the only recipe I know that Betsy uses canned soup in!), tasty Middle America comfort food. This time I tried the 2001 Ste.-Anne Bandol Rosé. Somewhat austere, a bit herbal (not green, I mean herbs), stern cherry fruit. I liked it, but Betsy didn't. I thought it a decent match, though good Beaujolais or Loire cab franc remains my favorite stroganoff match. As night wore on I liked the rosé even more, it seemed to become more open and inviting. I'd give a B+, though I probably won't buy more (there are too many wines we both like to stock ones she doesn't, except Savennières).
Wednesday I had to speak at a fundraising reception at a local college, the choices at the bar were limited, I tried the 2001 Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay. Low expectations are the way to go, this wasn't that bad for a wine that retails for I think $7-8. The tropical fruit profile isn't my favorite, but it doesn't have that oak-chippy woodiness that afflicts so many inexpensive CalChards. Reasonably light, bright wine- don't think I'll buy any, but an acceptable choice in this situation. B
Got home, Betsy had dinner almost ready, just needed 10 minutes to heat grill and a few more to grill some marinated scallops and shrimp. The seafood was part of an Asian salad over snow peas, red pepper, and noodles; we tried the 2003 Anselmi San Vincenzo (no longer Soave). I opened with anticipation, after a flurry of notes re this wine (or at least 2002). Wait, it's not what I expect. Sure it's good- pear and Fuji apple fruit, kind of a mineral/wet stone thing, good finish. But this is not the light clean crisp wine I expected. Ok, it's reasonably crisp and certainly clean. But this is a much bigger wine than I expected. It's at least as good a wine as I expected, just more. B+/A-
Thursday was a long day, we ate late with a beef stew with dried fruits from a crockpot. I tried the 1990 Vidal-Fleury Vacqueyras. Definite browning. Initial nose has some intriguing smoke, sweat, earth, and barnyard, but the fruit has a stewed quality. This probably should have been drunk 4-5 years ago in any case, but was a cheap bin-end from a slightly dubious source -my guess is this had seen some high temps. C- for this bottle
Friday was opening night for opera season, Betsy was working so I ate leftovers alone. I had recently picked up a couple of 375s of the 1998 Ch. Faizeau VV (Montagne-St.Émilion). This was a wine I had liked at $13, but drank them all. So when I saw the halves at $8 I got a few. After a little air, nice floral/earthy nose. Raspberry and black cherry fruit, medium-bodied, long finish for an inexpensive Bdx. B+
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice.
Dale
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