Today’s Twitter chat about Wines from Orvieto DOC promised to be an interesting one and then got even more interesting when a bounty around at my house this week. Four examples of wines + a beautiful book about the region + a map by the Master himself, Alessandro Masnaghetti.
I was first introduced to the wines of Oriveto when I was probably in my teens. My parents sometimes had Orvieto wines at home. My first trip to the region was during a summer I spent in Florence studying Italian in 1990. I fell in love with the Duomo and the town of Orvieto. The Duomo or Cathedral in English was started in 1290. It is enormous and dominates the town. Joyous in its white and green stripes, I remember being struck at the Allegria, at least on the outside, that these churches exuded rather than the dour although beautiful simplicity of the French gothic cathedrals in France that I had been studying in college. I was a French Major with a minor in Art History. Orvieto was perfect I remember on that visit and the white wines quenched my thirst on those hot days.
Fast-forward many years and I was invited to a lunch by Tony Didio in New York with Paolo and Noemia D’Amico and their French winemaker. At that time I began to look at these wines differently. They spoke about the amazing topography of the region. I watched drone footage flying over the vineyards and the calanchi.
Fast forward another few years and I began noticing that people had started speaking and tasting wines from Orvieto again in the industry. the DOC started spending a lot of money apparently as well and then I got an invitation from Jennifer of #ItalianFWT to join the twitter chat today and receive samples from the generous consortium. Of course I jumped at the chance to get reacquainted with these wines and revisit the area. Jennifer’s post on the area is here and is extremely informative.
Umbria is an exquisite part of Italy, lush green, with gorgeous hilltop towns, beautiful art jewels, great charcuterie, truffles, amazing olive oils, and lovely wines such as th ese that arrived at my home. When I think of Umbria, which borders Tuscany, Lazio, and Le Marche, I think of a deep forest green color that you see in the trees, the olives, and the olive oil. It’s a deeper green than the Tuscan countryside and Le Marche and one that always draws me in.
Orvieto always stuck out in my mind and in general Umbria is a peaceful region and I have spent many a happy weekend there – Orvieto, Gubbio, Perugia, Todi, Spello, Assisi, Monte Falco, Bevagna, Spoleto, Montevarchi, Torgiano, and other towns still to visit.
Orvieto DOC is a white wine domination. The Consortium got this DOC in 1971 and then further changes were made to the disciplinare or rules in 1997, adding a superiore style to the mix. Most of the wine, 60% is made from Grechetto di Todi and Grechetto di Orvieto with the addition of Procanico (which is their name for Trebbiano Toscano). Grechetto is a great grape that can make a huge range of wines from dry to sweet with both late harvest and muffa nobile (noble rot) and even sparkling, although that isn’t part of the denomination.
Red wines are also made in Orvieto but they aren’t part of this denomination. In order to give the wines which arrived later in the week than I had hoped, I am going to leave this piece just about the area and the denomination and write further this week on these great wines and give each their due.
Umbria’s truly got it all – great soils with loads of tufa, a range of altitudes, a wide array of rivers and lakes, and good wine making practices with historic families to boot. I am excited to revisit these wines one by one.
You know a region has arrived when you get a beautiful book and a map by Masnaghetti. Welcome back Orvieto. It’s nice to see an old friend.
Please join us later today, Saturday, May 7 at 11 AM ET as we further discuss the Orvieto wines that we tasted and perhaps paired with a meal. Jennifer will be leading us in twitter chat and you will find us by following #ItalianFWT. My fellow bloggers will be sharing these treats:
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will be sharing “Umbrian Red Wine Spaghetti and a Book Review.”
- Liz at What‘s In That Bottle is wondering “Why Aren’t we all Drinking more Orvieto?”
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles will be writing about “Orvieto – the multifaceted white wine of Umbria.”
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest will be focusing on “Appreciating an Ancient Italian Wine Made For Today’s Palate.”
- Camilla at The Culinary Adventures of Camilla is “Celebrating Spring with Vignole + 2020 Barberani Castagnolo Orvieto Classico Superiore.”
- Lisa at The Wine Chef is pairing “Umbria’s Famous White Wine, Paired With Spiced Pork Tenderloin.”
- Nicole at The Somm’s Table will be featuring “Easy Springtime Dinners with Orvieto.”
- Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings is uncovering “Orvieto White Wines – Hidden Treasures From Umbria.”
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass is writing about “White wines from the heart of Central Italy.”
- Susannah at Avvinare will be “Getting reacquainted with an old friend: Orvieto Wines.”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen is sharing “The Soulful and Unique Wines of Orvieto.”
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley is aiming to “Discover the Green Heart of Italy: Orvieto DOC in Umbria.”
- Terri at Our Good Life is pairing “Slow Cooker Short Ribs and Elicius Orvietano Rosso: A Match Made in the Heavenly Stars.”
- Jen at Vino Travels will be highlighting “Orvieto, Italy’s Classic White Wine.”