We first fell in love with this wonderfully light and refreshing Italian white at an unlikely restaurant run by a chef transplanted from Rome to a tiny crossroads settlement in the high grasslands of southern Arizona. Er Pastor was the chef's splendid restaurant and the wine was Fontana Candida Frascati, an authentic Roman wine, the chef explained, to go with his authentic Roman cuisine. We liked it especially with his chicken piccata. Happily, the 2011 vintage of this crowd pleaser is available all over Tampa Bay for about $9.
In the bottle, this frascati, made from grapes grown in volcanic soils near Rome and both cold filtered and cold bottled, is a pale straw gold. On the nose it offers light-as-a-zephyr lemon and a hint of grass. On the tongue it is ultra crisp and delightfully flinty, its lemon and clementine flavors as smooth as old silk. At the end of a nice clean finish a dab of ripe pear takes a bow.
In addition to chicken and veal dishes, this frascati will go well with tortellini al fredo, seared and lemoned sea scallops or grilled grouper, mahi mahi or snapper. Its lightness and citrus zing make it a perfect aperitif, as well as a lively party sipper.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.