Since it looks like Falesco’s Vitiano, one of my all-time favorite trio of wines, is going to drop out of the $10 Hall of Fame next year because the weak dollar has pushed its price to $12, I thought it only fair to mention another Falesco wine from Italy. (And the 2010 version of the Hall will appear in the January magazine.)
About the only thing wrong with the Est! Est!! Est!!! ($9, available at Jimmy’s, purchased) is that it doesn’t come with a screwcap. Otherwise, this white blend is as close to perfect as cheap wine gets — 12 1/2 percent alcohol, bright acidity, and enough fruit (pears, perhaps?) to please American palates without bothering those of us who like less fruit in their Italian wines. Drink this chilled on its own or with any kind of seafood. It would also do quite nicely with takeout chicken.
And, as befitting an Italian wine, there’s a story to it. The English king, Henry V, was traveling to Rome in the 12th century, and one of his servants went ahead to find quality wine for the king to drink. When the servant found an inn with good wine, he was supposed to write "est" on the inn’s door. When he arrived in Montefiascone, home of Est, he enjoyed the wine so much he wrote "est, est, est."