I opened this bottle a little earlier than I planned to – brought it home from the store and threw it in the fridge but then started cooking and needed a half cup of dry white, so brought it out before it really cooled down. I gave it a sniff before dumping it in the pan, and my first thought was that it was going be too sweet – the bottle said it was super dry, but it smelled super fruity, almost sweet. So whatever, mistakes are made, buying a wine a little too sweet isn’t too bad, so I took a swig to see what we were dealing with. It turns out the wine was as advertised, and even though it smelled sweet, almost peachy, it tasted super tart.
And that’s about it. I couldn’t really come up with other flavors even when I was thinking about it and running through all the confusing wine words in my mind (leather? rocks? stone fruit?). I threw it back in the fridge and had another glass with dinner (a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook, these fishcakes in a spicy, cumin-laced tomato sauce) and liked it, but still struggled for another way to describe it that wasn’t just tart. I had another glass for good measure the next day (accompanying some hastily prepared merguez with feta) – the wine was more or less the same as the night before, held up just fine after spending a night sealed up in the fridge, and was pretty tasty when it was nice and cold. It reminded me a little bit of dry white wines from the Rioja region of Spain that are made mostly from the viura grape, but the zilavka didn’t have the same balance those wines do.
Bottom line? A decent dry white, super tart but refreshing, and good enough that I’d try another bottle of the same grape and region, (plus at around $10, not one where you’ll feel like you wasted money on a gamble).