£14.50–£19.50, Aitken Wines, D Byrne, Sarah's Cellar, Corks & Cases, Kwoff, Blas Ar Fwyd, Chester Beer & Wine, Connolly's Wine
Key to this wonderfully expressive Pinot Grigio are steeply sloping, sunny south/southeast facing vineyards lying at a lofty 550–600m, deep glacial soils and low yields from vines aged 15 to 30 years old. And key to the selection of these particular, extreme sites and soils is the PICA proprietary software owned by the CAVIT co-operative group in the Alpine Trentino region.
It may sound unromantic but it's impossible to overstate the importance of the PICA project. In the last ten-plus years, it has charted and mapped more than 60% of Trentino, identifying and monitoring the terrain, soil by soil, vineyard by tiny vineyard. It has not only led to significant improvements in the quality of existing wines and to the creation of new benchmarks such as Rulendis, it protects and sustains the environment – and the work is ongoing. I've written about it in more detail here.
Rulendis comes from the foot of the Brenta Dolomites, north of Lake Garda, where Pinot Grigio ripens around three weeks later than elsewhere in the sunny but cool summers. The aromas and flavours in the 2019 are intense, precise and persistent – lime and lemon with a touch of apricot, a deep, mineral core and long, firm, salty citrus acidity. It's bone-dry, powerful and complex and yet there's a mountain airiness and energy to it.
It's an ideal wine for fish and seafood. I drank it this week with brown shrimps and home made mayo, but fritto misto, spaghetti alla vongole, skate with capers and brown butter and monkfish all come to mind. It also went well with a saffron risotto and in Trentino at the end of 2019 I was served the 2017 with polenta, fonduta and black truffle, which was as good as it sounds. 13%