Image description: a bottle of wine which reads ‘Bianco di Bisenzio’ against a white wall with pink and blue paper chains hanging in the background.
The Oxford Wine Company can be found on Turl Street, Little Clarendon Street, and Botley Road. This week, they have kindly sent us a mouth-watering 2019 Italian white wine for us to review. This bottle, Bianco di Bisenzio, comes from the Torre Bisenzio Estate in rural Umbria, a plot of vineyard which dates back to the 4th century. Today it is owned by Neena and Mike Rees who have been restoring the land since 2003. The region of Umbria in Italy is home to an lesser-known white grape called Grechetto di Orvieto, which as the name suggests, originates in Greece. With this particular company, it is bottled with 10% Sauvignon Blanc. All this wine talk, even knowing the name of the grape, is very new to me, but here are some of my thoughts on the wine.
After an ordeal trying to remove the cork, I finally poured two glasses of the honey-coloured wine. One for me and one for a friend. Admittedly, I know nothing about how to sniff, swirl or drink a wine ‘properly,’ my only expertise is drinking too much Hock at dinner parties with friends. Nevertheless, I appreciated this wine. Even the golden colour is appealing. At quite a high percentage of alcohol per volume (13.5%), this wine has an almost viscous texture, what the expert call ‘medium-bodied.’ It is refreshing and tastes a little citrusy but nutty at the same time. All in all, “drinkable but impactful,” as my friend put it. It is not just the taste that is appealing, but this wine is organic and the vineyard is making good steps toward sustainability, a big part of the ethos of Torre Bisenzio. The electricity is powered by solar panels, and the vineyard sources water from wells, saving water as the soil noes not naturally require irrigation. The Bianco di Bisenzio bottle is a perfect example of their organic, delicious produce grown across five hectares of vineyard.
A cool glass of this is delicious by itself, but works with light, tomato-based dishes. This is your chance to make some traditional Umbrian dishes such as lentil soup from Castelluccio, a staple of the region. It is made with a simple soffritto (finely diced onion, carrot and celery fried in olive oil), tomato paste, Castelluccio lentils (if you can get your hands on them), white wine and vegetable stock.
I have never ventured into a wine shop, but after tasting this bottle, I might be tempted to. While buying wine at a specialist shop is not in the budget for most of us, The Oxford Wine Company do have a 10% student discount and it really is a treat for a very special meal.
Image credit: Sarah Fielding