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« Yo. A little help, please | Main | Intro to White Burgundy »

24 August 2005

The Monster in the Bottle

GodzillaTocai Friulano is an Italian grape originating in the northeast region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.  In its Italian incarnation Tocai (not Tokaji or Alsatian Tokai) produces fairly subtle white wine with light fruit and mineral qualities.  Some Oregon wineries have recently started producing Tocai.  A few Cali producers have also dipped their toes in the Tocai pool.

I can handle ginormous wines (e.g. Kalin Pinot Noir).  Even if the wine is a bit too big for food, I am forgiving if it has something to say - interesting scents, flavors, a unique quality, etc.  However, when a wine is nothing more than an overpriced, full-of-alcohol, throat burning  titan, I get cranky.  Witness my experience with Luna Vineyards Tocai Friulano

Luna describes its Tocai thusly:

"from the Vista Verde Vineyard near Monterey. Luna is one of a handful of producers outside of Italy making a varietal Tocai Friulano. Aromas of ripe guava and mango with bursting acidity on the palate. Perfect with oysters or prosciutto!"

I testify to you that there is no/zero/zilch/nada/null/nil bursting acidity in this wine.  A slight bulge perhaps, but no acid burst.  Yet at 14.5% alcohol the wine would need a torrent of acid to be balanced.  This was simply a hot, flabby, syrupy wine for which I paid thirty-damn-dollars.  Luna's Tocai is far too mammoth to pair with any food of this planet.  Moreover, it's downright uncomfortable to drink.  I was reminded of some fruity cocktail concoction.  Sad indeed as I am, in fact, a fan of Luna's Sangiovese.

Wine should not be a painful experience.

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Comments

Andrew

Of all the interesting grapes that they could use - even white ones just from Italy - they use one of the really, really bland ones.

Mind you they seem to have squeezed some flavour out of this one, shame they messed up the acidity.

Lenn

I've not had many Tocai's...but the ONE local one is far from bland. It is NOT cheap at $24 but I really liked it.

At $15 or even $18 it would be better.

Does NOT sound like you had a good experience...not sure I've ever seen you write a review like this one!

beau

I've had a number of sub 2-star wines. I normally don't mention them, because I think there is plenty of wine out there to recommend. But this one was simply ridiculous. It is the epitome of new world winemaking run amok. I couldn't believe my tastebuds..

beau


Andrew,

Exactly. Perhaps if it had been a Gewurz or Chardonnay, I wouldn't have been so suprised about the heft, alcohol, and lack of acidity. But this is a grape that's usually pretty mellow and understated. Somehow it became a monster!

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