Cantina Terlan Pinot Bianco 2005, Alto Adige (Italy)

Imported by Banville and Jones, $20

Pinot bianco (or pinot blanc in French) often produces workhorse wines that lack individuality or character. But in the region of Alto Adige, just south of the Austrian border, conscientious producers make some compelling wines with it. Cantina Terlan, a cooperative winery, produces exceptional ones. This young 2005 pinot bianco tastes of pear and apple fruit, with nuanced mineral-tinged notes providing secondary complexity, and a lusciously long finish. It's perfect for springtime sipping. It also offers fine value, since a chardonnay this exciting would cost two or three times as much.