Friday, August 15, 2008

A few bottles of this one headed north

So the biggest hurdle that Anthony Vietri of Va La Vineyards in Avondale will have with this second batch of a white blend called Fioretti that he’s just finished bottling? It won’t be selling out of it, since he figures he’s making only about 70 cases of it, a little more than the first batch they made. “This one is longer aged and has a slightly different blend to it,” he said the other day. The difference is very small. We [first] wanted to kind of trickle it out and see what the response was and it was very strong. So we felt a bit more confident to actually go to the second batch.”

Probably the most vexing problem is getting a batch into his uncle’s hands in New York. Fioretti means little flowers, Vietri explained, “and that refers to the varietals that are in it. It also refers to my uncle, whose name is Fioretti, just kind of a tip of the hat to him.”

The blend features mostly Viognier, but also contains elements of
Toccai, Petit Manseng and [Hungarian] Bianca. “It’s kind of an unusual blend,” he said. “It’s designed in our lineup to go with mostly white sauces, cream dishes including mushrooms and a white sauce, if you’re doing that kind of thing.”

It’s served, he added, around 50, not too chilled or it will subdue the aromas and flavor of the Viognier. There are similarities to La Prima Donna, another white Va La blend. “This one would be fatter because it has a higher percentage of Viognier, less of the pronounced aromatics that Prima Donna has,” Vietri said. “It has aromatics . . . but is in a different style. It’s hard to describe.

“The idea with this was a Rhone white. So we wanted to have some fatness but still have some acidity, so when you serve it with the dishes that I was talking about, including risotto, which I should have mentioned before, that it has the ability to stand up to them.”