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Friday, May 1, 2015

Umbria’s White from Orvieto

                                  There are 2 reasons to visit Orvieto & this is one
Next month Wine-Knows has rented a 10,000 square foot villa in Umbria. A few days before the tour begins, however, I’ll be in nearby Orvieto---Umbria’s most famous wine city.  Orvieto has been producing wine since the Middle Ages.  Although the area produces both reds and white, it’s well known for white.  The city is also known for its jaw-dropping cathedral.  I'm going to see it, but also to visit two killer wineries.

Orvieto white wine is made primarily from a blend of Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes. Although Grechetto’s origin are thought to be Greek, this varietal has been grown for so long in Umbria that it is often credited as native to the area.  Grechetto is primarily a blending grape.  Trebbiano is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world.  By itself, it does not produce a high quality wine---blended with other grapes, it contributes fresh fruity flavors with some acidity.  Also added to Orvieto’s whites are aromatic Malvasia and Verdello which, like Trebbiano, is added for acidity.

Orvieto’s white wines are some of Italy’s most well known wines.  Typically inexpensive, these wines are often mass produced and exported around the world.  Generally, these are not serious wines, but rather refreshing, crisp wines.  There are some exceptions.

Some winemakers are pushing the envelope and breaking away from the pack of mediocrity.  Their results have been phenomenal.  If you can find either of the following two producers, buy them as they are terrific examples of what Orvieto is capable of producing:  Decugnano dei Barbi or Palazzone.  I’ll be taking a case to the villa for the group's welcome dinner.

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