The email will take you no longer than ten minutes to read, and also you will likely shit yourself laughing. Here’s a sample of what you will get.
Drinking & Knowing Things #31: Timorasso
The world is full of thousands of local indigenous wine grapes. Some of these, like America’s own Norton grape, are horrific, good solely for making a nasty bitter wine suitable as a home crafted insecticide and also probably causing blindness and dementia. Others, like Assyrtiko, are amazing and delicious. This massive proliferation of different grapes is mainly why in Europe they label the wines by what town they are made in. Because back in the day we didn’t know what the different grapes were – we just knew that wine made in different towns tasted different.
Indigenous varietals are like Eminem songs. Some of them are absolutely spectacular. Others are boring and/or hard to swallow or take seriously. But when you find the spectacular ones they are usually super inexpensive, and also interesting. And a great conversation piece at parties. It just takes a lot of wading through a sea of uninteresting and sometimes crappy wines to find the gems. Also, sometimes it isn’t the grape itself that is bad, but the winemaker fucked it up. So you generally have to try a few different examples of a wine before forming an opinion.
I’m inherently curious about wines, so I am always all in on trying something new. For a while I had this whole thing about going to wine stores and only buying wines that I had no idea what they were. Now that I know everything that game isn’t as fun anymore.
Today I’m going to tell you all a pithy little tale about Timorasso.
Why Timorasso is Dope AF:
It’s sometimes called the Italian Riesling.
Nuff said. All in.
Timorasso is another one of those grapes that almost went extinct but one ultra-passionate and moderately insane winemaker named Walter Massa refused to let it go and started planting a bunch of it in the early 1990s.
I had never even heard of this grape until a few years ago. One of the members in my weekly MW study group was this crazy Italian dude who owned a winery in Piedmont. I assumed he grew Nebbiolo. One day I asked him some sort of super esoteric question about Nebbiolo and he was like “No dude, I grow Timorasso.”
I provided the appropriate response which was “WTF is Timorasso? Never heard of it.”
His response: “Really? It’s the Riesling of Italy.”
Seeing as how I fucking love Riesling, I immediately began searching for Timorasso. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the US. Spent a few months aggressively looking and then pretty much gave up. Every time I went into any wine shop I would ask them if they had Timorasso. No one, even the uber geeky wine shop folks (you know the type), had ever even heard of it.
Fast forward a couple of years. I found myself driving through Asheville, North Carolina. I stop for lunch and there’s a little Podunk wine store with a sign out front saying “European Wines”. Of course I wander in because why not. Dude comes up and asks if he can help me. I give the automatic “Yo, you guys got any Timorasso?” response. Dude nonchalantly replies with “yeah, it’s over there” and waves his hand towards the back.
I was like no way does this crappy little wine store in the middle of BFE have Timorasso. I assumed the guy didn’t know what he was talking about and was trying to pawn something else off on me not knowing he was dealing with the World’s Leading Wine Influencer. Sure as shit though, they had some.
Side Note: Turns out the wine store owner was super into wine and I spent like an hour chatting with him about all kinds of weird shit. To the point where Ann began actively tugging at my shirt and whining like a petulant two-year-old trying to get me to leave. I’ll miss her.
We grab a couple of bottles and head off to the hotel. Chill them up in the mini-fridge and pop one open. It’s as fantastic as promised. Does have a Riesling quality to it, but with a little more phenolic bitterness on the finish and great aromatics. A very interesting wine, which I would have loved to have tried with food. I think it would go amazing with spicy food, like yellow curry.
Since then I have continued to keep my eyes open for it, and have encountered it a few more times. The last time I saw it I bought a case, because I knew by then that it was tough to come by.
Now I know I bitched and complained about how the media can blow up certain wines, e.g. Portuguese still wines. In this case, I think we could do with a little blowing up of Timorasso. I think this wine has real potential and we are only scratching the surface.
Wine Spectator – take note!
Here’s today’s recommendation. It’s from Vietti, which if you recall from the Arneis DAKT is the winery in Piedmont that is paying attention to some of the indigenous varietals. You can give this a try if you want to jump on the Timorasso bandwagon with me.
Pro Tip: 2018 is Vietti’s first ever Timorasso vintage. Which alone makes it interesting.
Side Note: Vietti actually buys some of their Timorasso grapes from my crazy Italian buddy.
That said, the long con here is that I am trying to get you all to play the “Yo, you got any Timorasso?” game when you all visit your local wine shops. That way, those folks will ask the distributors, who will ask the importers and if we do it right eventually we will get more options available here in the states, and we can all overindulge on Timorasso and smile. As members of the DAKT Street Team I expect you all to do your part…even those of you from Texas.
As always, Drink Well!!
Then, armed with your new knowledge about a bottle of wine, you can go buy one (this is the part that’s not free – I’m not covering your wine tabs people; that’s on you). Then drink the bottle and decide if you like it or not.
Pro Tip: You’re not going to like everything! Which is fine. Half of knowing wine is being able to confidently state why you think a particular wine is garbage.
Now – I don’t care where you get the wine from. Feel free to go to your local wine shop, or Total Wine, or buy it online or steal it from a neighbor. Doesn’t matter – as long as you actually try the wine. If you have a great local wine shop you may want to let them know what you are doing and have them source stuff for you.
Most of what I recommend is gonna be below $25 (although some will be a bit higher). But figure you can spend $25 a week on wine (which you’re probably doing already but the wrong stuff). So your total tuition for a year’s course in mastering wine will run you about $1250.
If we do this right, we can change how the whole country thinks, talks and acts about wine. And make it fun and accessible for everyone. Which is how it is basically everywhere but here.
Note that I am in no way affiliated with any of the wineries I recommend, nor do I receive any financial or other incentives for recommending specific wines. My only skin in this game is to do epic wine shit and change the world.
It’s easy – just click the “Change My Life” button and enter your email address.