Alongside a glass of champagne or a cab ride in the rain, a good bottle of wine is one of life’s affordable luxuries. Yet low-key, easy luxury is the most difficult thing to achieve; partly because it involves an element of effortlessness. That is why I was interested to try the Pinot Bianco by Hofstatter, from Alto Adige in North East Italy. From my observations of people whom I consider have good taste in wine, a group with a fine balance between open-mindedness and discriminating taste, this was one they all kept returning (at £22 per bottle).
At first, the luxury was not as effortless as I expected. Had I been delivered a wine as an IKEA furniture kit? I found a flat-pack of minerals, sheets of white fruit and a spray can of pale oak, each individual component of tremendous quality but all in separate boxes, leaving me at a loss how to put it all together.
After a few hours it began to reassemble itself into something solid yet ethereal. The original crystalline freshness continued for many hours. Finest pin-pricks of acidity enlivened, not just the palate but also the throat and nose, almost as if breathing in the coolness of high-altitude air from Alto Adige mountains. Eventually it had a stillness you may find stopping along an alpine path of crushed minerals, white fruits and flowers.
Perhaps 2007 is still a little difficult at this stage, it needs patience and is not something everyone will instantly warm to. But once it opens up, it is effortlessly alive and yields a pleasure which lasts hours longer than anything I have bought assembled from the average catalogue.
Wine: 2007 Hofstatter Pinot Bianco Vigna S. Michele, Barthenau from Suditirol, Alto Adige Italy
Image: The Invisibles, furniture designer Tokujin Yoshioka