Anthony Vietri does not make a lot of wine; neither does Anthony make many types of wine. So a new, limited release from Va La is worth noting, and just as summer is reaching its midpoint, we have another one in Zafferano. Like all Va La wines, it’s made with a combination of estate-grown grapes – this time, in the style of an “orange” wine. Orange wines leave the juice in contact with the skins before being separated (hence the color). I’ve had several orange wines before, French and Italian, and I have found their style to be as varied as wines designated “white” or “red.” Not surprisingly, therefore, the Zafferano manages to stand apart from other orange wines just as Va La’s other wines stand apart from more traditional white and red.
The first thing I noticed was the deep, rich color. I actually delayed smelling and tasting it just so I could stare at it. The nose of this wine is of some fruit, but I don’t know what type of fruit it is. It isn’t red fruit, black fruit, stone fruit, or berries. The closest thing I could think of would be watermelon, but an intensely scented and flavored watermelon. I mean, like the best watermelon I’ve ever tasted. Then, I smell flowers – honeysuckle in particular. Once I tasted it, I was surprised how those sweet aromas were combined with a taste devoid of sweetness. In other words, this wine could pair beautifully with any local food the summer spurs you to eat. So, combining a gorgeous scent with a dry taste, properly chilled, makes for an incredibly refreshing glass on a summer afternoon.