2012 Masseria Li Veli 'Askos' Verdeca
90% Verdeca, 10% Fiano Minutolo
Valle d'Itria IGT, Italy
I was really excited about this wine for a few reasons. It was highly recommended at Vin Chicago, one of my trusty wine shops in town, and it's a white indigenous grape from the region of Puglia in southern Italy. I've also had some great red wines from the producer, Masseria Li Veli, so I figured I had checked all the boxes to guarantee a tasty bottle... but alas, this bottle fell flat on a variety of levels.
Pale lemon in color. The nose was very faint and reminded me a bit of Viognier, with mild but exotic notes of papaya/melon/guava, pleasant white flowers, and citrus/lemon zest. This took a while to open up, and, well, never really opened up. The nose remained consistent but I found myself shoving my nose deeper into the glass, hoping to get more out of it, to no avail.
On the palate, the wine is medium in acid, with a distinct oily/waxy viscosity. The palate mirrors the nose of the wine and is generally underwhelming, but it does have some attractive citrus and floral components that lead to a medium finish. No faults here, just an odd wine.
I'm not one to punk on nuanced wines that require a more deft palate and focused attention to appreciate. But this wasn't alive to me; it lacked the Elan Vital of a focused, confident wine. I tasted this several times over 3-4 days with different people hoping it would come alive but it remained static the entire time.
I noticed today that the 2013 Verdeca is now on sale at Vin Chicago. I won't be buying the newer vintage but if it's on the list for one of their Saturday tastings, I'll give it a whirl and report back. Don't let this review discourage you from buying other Masseria Li Veli wines. They have succeeded in producing delicious and unique wines from indigenous southern Italian grapes and this is not reflective of their portfolio of wines.