“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” …..  W.C. Fields

Despite my admiration of W.C. Fields, it would be challenging to find a better wine to drink on its own or to add to food than Villa Graziella’s (organic) Bianco Toscano. Especially in the summer when we tend to eat lighter.  Maybe what first struck me was the simple fact that I liked it.  90% Trebbiano and only 10% Malvasia, it was the Trebbiano that surprised me. Trebbiano being so often rendered somewhat sweet to off-dry and (for me) flabby and lacking character, I found this blend from Villa Graziella lively, zesty and with all the citrusy character and minerality that I often appreciate as a characteristic of Italian white wines.

And then it became the opportunities for pairing.

Light dishes. Healthy. Summertime appropriate on the deck or umbrella covered patio.  And just as suitable in the dining room.  If more restaurants offered this on their wine list, I’d snap at the opportunity to enjoy it with ceviche.  The clean crisp finish of this wine, while not being over weighted in body, pairs naturally to such dishes, but also so many more.  Salads with baked cheese, or a stuffed avocado (Caprese-styled)?  Sure!  I even re-made a “white” pizza (topped with buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, dabs of goat cheese and grated Fontina and Parmesan Reggiano) and the wine elevated this simple preparation made 100% from leftover ingredients.   In the dining room, consider broccoli cheese soup. Lakeside at the picnic table, pair with a snack of cheese and apple.  At the grill, enjoy chicken kabobs with this wine.  Guests arriving and you’re busy preparing?   Offer a platter of pre-cut crudites with dip and a glass of this Bianco (“Bianco” means “white”) wine while they and you enjoy each other’s company.  Want to keep it simple for yourself? Enjoy a glass with a chicken sandwich with grilled organic pineapple and fresh avocado on a pretzel roll, or fettuccine noodles with diced ham, asparagus tips, diced red bell pepper and vegetables.   And don’t even get me started on seafood!

Before you get the wrong impression, let me admit I’m a wine guy after all – not a chef (my plating skills alone should be a tip off). And seldom do I go off for so long about things other than wine. The point here, indeed, is the wine. Yet to talk about this wine without acknowledging how food versatile it is would ignore much of its benefit.  It’s become a staple here at “Mizer Manor” largely because it does pair so well with so many lighter meals (Not to mention it’s a delicious sipper on its own).  So maybe all I need to share with you is the why.

Stuffed Avocado Caprese Styled
It begins with the juice being aged just four months in temperature controlled stainless steel tank which preserves freshness and aromatics.  No heavy wood notes.  (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that”).   But I would add, there’s a time and a place for everything and this is a “summer” wine that’s both a crowd pleaser and case worthy since you’ll find yourself resorting to its use so often.  
Broccoli & Cheese Soup
Chicken Kabobs

A good alternative to unoaked Chardonnay, this 2018 Bianco Toscano offers freshness, minerality and salinity on the nose along with notes of fresh-cut green apple, citrus and a faint hint of orange segments.  As such (no “hate” mail, please) I find it also a good alternative to Pinot Grigio (and less expensive than my favored label).  The Bianco has lip smacking acidity but no bite or “repeat” as some Pinot Grigio can present (at least for me). The acidity in this Bianco Toscano, while providing that cleansing note and lip-smacking character, is not overcoming but instead is in perfect balance.  And it’s not sweet as some domestic Pinot Gris can be.  On the palate: Crisp green apple and Meyer lemon. Orange blossom announces itself on the finish. Others noted ripe apricot and white peach with subtle notes of Key lime.  No – really – I’m not soliciting “hate” mail, but I also find this wine (with its multi-character) a good alternative to Soave which (for me) can lean toward being flabby.

All in all, this wine, flying under the radar as it is, is worth more than its ARP of $13 while being  more versatile in the kitchen than others. At home, on a picnic, table-side at the beach, you'll find this wine a star performer.

Like Everything Today, This
Chicken Sandwich Is Good Only If
It's Too Big To Bite 

……………….. Jim

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Villa Graziella Organic:                  
Region:                                             Tuscany, Italy
Appellation:                                      Chianti Colli Fiorentini of Montespertoli, Province: Florence
Exposure:                                         SE
Soil:                                                  Calcareous
Blend:                                               90% Trebbiano Toscano, 10% Malvasia Bianca - organic grapes
Harvest:                                            By Hand
TA:                                                    4.9
pH:                                                    3.12
RS:                                                    0.30
ALC:                                                 12.5%

Note 1:                                              Villa Graziella has been certified organic each vintage since 2009

Note 2:                                            Starting out with a quote from W.C. Fields should be an indication I take many things light heartedly. Feel welcome to post comments here, or send your hate mail to   

For more on  Villa Graziella's DOCG Chianti and Chianti DOCG Reserva, see:  

And Don't Forget The Pizza.
(Taste Better When Cooked)

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