Quattro Mani "Toh-kai" 2009

August 11 2011 - 1:09 PM

Some of the best values attainable among white wines are those originating from the region encompassing northeast Italy and Slovenia.  Quattro Mani "[toh-kai]", a 2009 Slovenian bottling, is a prime example of these gems, as it beautifully demonstrates the much disputed Tocai Friuliano grape.  After Hungary joined the European Union, it sought exclusive rights to use "Tocai" and all similar names to identify grapes of genetic identity to Tocai. For centuries, Hungary has produced a wine called Tokaji, a sweet white wine that shares little similarity beyond genetics with Tocai's Italian and Slovenian expressions.  Hungary ultimately won superior naming title to "Tocai" and a package of similar names, rendering obsolete the Italian, and, by extension, Slovenian, usage of "Tocai Friuliano" and its progeny.  This explains vintners use on this bottle of the brackets and phonetic breakdown, "toh-kai", to not-so-subtly clue in wine buyers as to the contents.

Not in dispute is the outstanding quality and tremendous value of the Quattro Mani bottling.  Golden in color with hints of copper, the Quatrro Mani offers substantial herbaceousness on the nose. These notes also appear on the palate, along with copious minerals, tropical fruit, spices, pear, and a healthy amount of acidity.  The mouthfeel is slightly creamy without approaching chewiness or viscousness and it descends to a remarkably long finish.  Sure, this is ideal for seafood.  But a wine of this complexity with this much acidity can also be paired with cream sauces and light meats.  At $13 a bottle at Lush Wine and Spirits, this purchase is tantamount to international theft.  No one inform INTERPOL, please. 

–Mark Sheppard

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