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Pairing fumes with Italy’s Fumin

No – I didn’t misspell “Furmint”, Hungary’s distictive superstar producing fierce white wines. Fumin is missing Furmint’s “T” and “R” – and trust me – many of us would gladly remove the “U” and “M” and be left with “FIN”. And we all know there has purportedly been too much “P” to remove.

Like major historic and tumultuous events that get recorded in textbooks but that people now choose to ignore, Italy’s Valle d’Aosta is a region that always seems like a brief whisper of an afterthought in most wine reference books I’ve read, and a region which has its indigenous Fumin, a black grape with the potential to create cherry-scented, dark-fruited, and muscly wines that are sometimes added to blends for colour and brawn. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity to buy this at a local wine shop in San Francisco and share this with fellow wine chums back home, only to sip this as a side dish for a lonesome winter night back in Canada to drown out the entrée of international news.

A hypothesis is that “Fumin” may have been etymologically derived from the French word “fumée” meaning “smoke”, so as almost every news outlet and social media feed floods with apt ire towards toupee representatives, crescent-shaped snacks, and wavelengths between 590 and 620 nanometers, perhaps the smoke jetting out of our ears pairs well with this grape, as dark and fitting as it might be. Or maybe we should go the more literal and direct route for a wine: a blanc de blancs – no translation needed – and hopefully a loathsome one that’s lost all of its sparkle.

Grosjean 2011 Fumin, Vigne Merletta (Vallee D’Aoste, Italy) Dec 2016. $41 USD.
Deep and vibrant ruby colour. Such a pure essence of blueberry and cassis combined with irony earth. The concentration and texture gives you lots to chew on along with the electric acidity, followed by fleeting tannins and round berried bitterness at the end to balance the hint of ripeness. Fans of blueberries and its pie filling could commit to this! Great intensity.


DipWSET, Certified Sommelier, garbage person.

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