Galestro

In Italy it is known simply as "La Violetta," and here as the "Wine with the Purple Cap." In trattorias from Pisa to Napoli, Galestro (about $9.99) is the vino da tavola bianco of choice. It is not uncommon to hear "quattro capsula Viola" for a table of four Romans, translating to a bottle apiece. Lower in alcohol, Galestro was for many years regulated to be less than 10.5 percent alcohol. Today, over eight million bottles of Galestro are sold a year, providing the necessary outlet for the large quantities of trebbiano and malvasia that are still grown in Tuscany. Founded in the '70s by a consortium of Chianti producers, Galestro was required to contain at least 60 percent Trebbiano Toscano, with the remaining 40 percent coming from any number of white grapes—including malvasia, vernaccia, riesling, and chardonnay. In 1984 DOC regulations changed for Chianti Classico, reducing the minimum percentage of white grapes required from 10 to 2 percent. Alas, what to do with all the leftover trebbiano? More Galestro for the everyone! The wine has never really caught on in our country with the same fever as in Italy or even Germany. Perhaps it's our fascination with big, mouth-filling, oaky wines. The current vintage of Antinori's Galestro ('97) contains 85 percent trebbiano and 15 percent pinot blanc. It was fermented at cooler temperatures, in stainless steel tanks, and contains 11 percent alcohol. The perfect sipping wine on a warm summer afternoon, Galestro would drink beautifully with simple pastas, grilled seafood, or "frutta fresca di stagione."

 
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