5 Unexpected White Wines for the Adventurous

Think outside the Pinot Grigio box and get adventurous with your white wine. From grapes harvested at the base of one of the world’s most active volcanoes to bottles inspired by ancient artifacts, Ethica Wines is reshaping the perception of white wine. Complex, bright — these are white wines for bold oenophiles who don’t want to compromise taste or principle.

The name “Ethica” represents a commitment to the market and to building strong, respect-based relationships with the hard-working producers of the unique wines in its portfolio. Passion, tradition, and craftsmanship go into every wine selected. A warm breeze, good friends, and relaxed al fresco meals pair perfectly with exciting wines from the importer that speaks Italian: Ethica Wines.

Read on to discover five bottles worthy of a seat at your sunshine-soaked table.

Ca’ dei Frati Lugana I Frati

Family-owned Ca’ dei Frati has been producing wine since 1939. Located on the Lombardy side of the Lugana DOC, the region sits on the southern shore of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. Cool breezes travel across the lake, allowing the Turbiana grape varietal (a.k.a. Trebbiano di Lugana) a steady growing season.

Lugana only produces white wines and fans of these wines believe producers in the area have perfected the craft. These well-structured wines have excellent aging potential aided by the traditional dark glass bottling; protecting wine from light is one of the keys to longevity. All the wines from the Lugana region are bottled in dark glass for this reason.

Switch out the Sauvignon Blanc for this alternative bright white with mineral notes, almonds, and yellow fruit. Ca’dei Frati I Frati Lugana is very versatile. Drink it alongside shrimp and shellfish or bigger catches, like grilled trout and bass. Try it with pasta coated in butter and oil, chicken, a light antipasto, and especially creamy cheeses.

Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi

OK, follow along here. Gavi, or more formally Cortese di Gavi, is the name of a DOCG in the Piedmont region. Gavi is also a city and the name of a wine. It’s made from the Cortese grape. While a bottle of Gavi can be made in 11 different communes, it can only be called Gavi di Gavi when made in the actual city of Gavi.

Switch out the unoaked Chardonnay for Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi and fall in love with this medium-bodied wine bursting with tropical fruit flavors, honey, almonds, peaches, and bright Meyer lemon. The uniquely shaped bottle is a nod to an ancient clay amphora found while excavating the original winery building. Gavi has natural acidity that makes it fantastic with soft cheeses. Drinking Gavi alongside fish entrées is like adding the freshest squeeze of lemon you can imagine. Throw together an olive platter and crusty bread for an elegant and easy Gavi gathering.

Terrazze dell’Etna Ciuri

This wine brings you to Sicily. The town of Randazzo sits on the northwest slopes of Etna. Yes, that Mount Etna, is one of the world’s most active volcanos. Volcanic soil is rich in iron and potassium, which gives the wines complexity and a sweet salinity. Volcanic soil produces wines with a unique “liquid stone” minerality. Terrazze dell’Etna has some of the highest-altitude vineyards in the world at 3,100 feet above sea level.

The Ciuri is a unique alternative white wine. Made from 100 percent Nerello Mascalese, the red-skinned grape is softly pressed and the juice is immediately separated from the skins so no color is imparted. This unique twist on the traditionally red Nerello Mascalese makes this a winning alternative to Pinot Grigio with its dry minerality and stone fruit flavors. Drink this with sushi or ceviche for an international taste experience.

Casa E.di Mirafiore Langhe Nascetta

When we think of Piedmont’s Langhe DOC, usually Barbera- or Nebbiolo-based reds pop into our minds. But remember this name: Nascetta. Nascetta will soon become your new favorite warm-weather white grape varietal. Casa E.di Mirafiore Nascetta is bright and intensely flavored with only free-run juice, the most concentrated juice from the grape produced simply with gravity. The weight of bunches on top of each other gives us free-run juice, considered top-shelf by winemakers. Aromatic apricot and slight herbal notes make this a fun wine to feature at casual blind-tasting get-togethers over sushi or mini quiche.

Cordero di Montezemolo Arneis Langhe

The Langhe also gives us another unsung hero outside of Italy. Winemakers for 19 generations, try Cordero di Montezemolo Arneis Langhe. Arneis translates to “little rascal” in Italian. Named so because of the crop’s rebellious nature, you’ll want to drink this wine young and fresh. Aromas of white flowers, chamomile, peach, pear, apricot, citrus, and almond combined with low acidity and a full, round body make this delicious with pear and goat cheese salad or turkey burgers. If you’re a fan of the exotic floral flavors of Viognier, give Arneis a try. Most of the Arneis are made in Roero; differently, this one comes from the winery’s single-bodied estate in the Barolo area. Expect to be mind blown by this new favorite alternative white.

This article is sponsored by Ethica Wines.