Luigi Baudana, Langhe Bianco DOC (Piedmont, Italy) “Dragon” 2021

($23, Vajra, USA):  The dragon on the label symbolizes bravery, according to the website, which is appropriate since this beauty is a field-blend.  Field blends can be tricky because varieties with different ripening times are planted — and harvested — together.  Common in the past, such field blends can also work wonderfully because early ripening grapes can provide richness, while later maturing ones provide acidity.  Vajra, one of Piedmont’s top producers, has overseen the farming and vinification of the Baudana wines for over a decade, which is why you see their name on the label in small print.  The uplifting and energetic 2021 Dragon, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Nascetta (a local, formerly endangered but now resurgent variety), is a delight to drink.  A mid-weight wine, it’s packed with spice and stone fruit flavors, all amplified and supported by a racy underpinning.  It’s a joy to drink as an aperitif but has plenty of stuffing and verve to accompany a seafood risotto or creamy mushroom fettucine.
93 Michael Apstein Oct 3, 2023