The letter “I” proved to be a challenge. Tacoma Wine Merchants, the host of our A to Z Challenge, finally tracked one down and we ended up in Italy (again). But, that’s not surprising since it’s the highest wine production country in the world, being home to more than 400 types of grapes. I was completely unfamiliar with Incrocio Manzoni, the selected wine, which is what makes this journey so much fun and a great learning experience.
A cross between two grapes — Riesling and Pinot Bianco — Incrocio Manzoni is relatively scarce and is most commonly found in the northern regions of Italy. This hybrid grape has inherited unique characteristics of its two parental grapes that, when combined, create a more full-bodied white. The Pinot Bianco contributes structure and body, while Riesling brings its trademark fragrant aromatics.
The Incrocio Manzoni in our A to Z wine challenge was the 2020 Seghesio Rapui from the Langhe region, an area of rolling hills in the Piedmont region. Maybe my expectations were high, given its motherland and genetics, but I was left wanting more.
I expected upon the initial swirl a highly aromatic nose from the Riesling, but instead I found it to be actually quite mellow, and maybe even a bit non-descript. On the palate, I did detect a faint hint of lychee fruit that I hoped would end with a lingering rich honeyed finish, but I was left with slight bitterness. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an unpleasant wine, but just not a repeat buy.
We accompanied the wine with our first course — a kale salad with pepitos and dried cranberries. The sweet and tart cranberry characteristics pulled through the lychee, making it a good pairing. I also think a goat cheese may work well with this wine.
While this was an interesting varietal to try, I think a Chenin Blanc would be a good alternative that would offer the combined fruit, acidity and body that the Incrocio Manzoni promised.