Category Archives: Umbria

Wine Wednesday: Falesia Chardonnay from D’Amico Winery

This week’s wine Wednesday is dedicated to one I tasted a while back but have not been able to forget. It’s the Falesia chardonnay from D’Amico Winery located at the confluence of Umbria/Lazio/Tuscany. I met the couple during a lunch in New York at Marea organized by the lovely Tony DiDio. I had never heard of the winery and was intrigued. The couple made their mark in other industries and started their winery out of a passion for the vine in 1985. The winemaker is quite young and french which was a further twist. Their winery is located in the Calenchi valley on volcanic soil which brings lots of minerality to the wines.

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Vaiano, is a UNESCO protected area on the border between Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria.
It is said to be the birthplace of the Etruscan culture. The exciting and moonlike landscape is a result of water passing over tufa stone which led to these amazing cliffs.

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I have never visited the property but it looks very interesting and the cellars apparently have been excavated underneath the vines and the hanging gardens, attempting to recreate an Etruscan cellar that was found on the property.

We tried a number of wines that day, both reds and whites. Like many others, I tend to be a little less enthusiastic when I try an international varietal from Italy rather than an indigenous one, of which they have so many,  but I decided to suspend my usual thinking and was richly rewarded throughout the tasting. I really enjoyed the Calanchi and Falesia Chardonnay wines. The latter particularly as it was made from 30 year old vines. I even got some petrol notes on the Falesia which were unexpected The wines also both spent time on their lees and this creamy texture came through on the palate as well. According to the winemaker, they have a regime of using a low level of sulfites. Lees can also do the job to protect the wines from oxygen, the winemaker said. Commenting on the high level of acidity, he noted that volcanic soil helps to maintain freshness and acidity in wines.

Vaiano, Private Property (http://www.cedricreversade.com), Italy

We also tried a wine called Noe which was a blend of Grechetto, Pinot Grigio and Trebbiano. It was very aromatic and fresh. I am sure on a hot day like today, more than one bottle would be poured at my table.

The Falesia which was my pick for today had a bit of everything I like, great minerality, white fruit notes of apple, pear and some herbaceous notes. as well as a creamy texture from the lees. It reminded me a lot of some of the Antinori chardonnay I have tasted from Italy. The volcanic soils also brought sapidity to all of these wines, another characteristic I favor.

The winery also makes a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Franc which we tasted and were inviting. I’m in love with Cabernet Franc as a grape so I will write about that one as well. The Cabernet Franc had just the right amount of pepper and spice and elegance that I look for with that grape together with great mineraity, something I love to find in a red wine. I hope to see more of these wines on various lists in the city. I know you can find them both at Marea and at the Lincoln. You can also find some of the wines in these places on wine-searcher. A winery to watch, I hope to visit on a future trip to Italy.

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Filed under Grechetto, Italian regions, lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, Wine Wednesday, wines

So much wine, so little time

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Do you ever feel like the person in this picture? I know I do. When I’m at a big wine show, I am always taken with how many great wines there are to try. This was the case with the Slow Wine event this week. I basically only tried whites and two reds but I felt as if I only got to try a few of the wines that were available. Many were quite memorable. I loved one of the wines from Tabarrini, a producer from Umbria.

Most people associate Umbria with big red wines such as Sagrantino but this wine made from the Trebbiano Spoletino grape was a real eye opener for me the first time I tasted it. Tabarrini also makes Sagrantino.

Their winery is located just outside of Montefalco and they cultivate 22 hectares, 11 of which are dedicated to Sagrantino. The winery has been in the family for four generations but it is only in the last 15-20 years that they have begun to bottle their own grapes.

Giampaolo is the current owner of the winery and he runs it with a small team, which includes his partner in life and work – Federica. He was very casual and warm, a change of pace from what you usual see at these shows.

The wine that I tried is an I.G.T. Bianco made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino. The vineyard is at 350 meters above sea level, faces South-East and the vines are between 50-60 years of age. From what I read, the vines are planted on their own root stocks as well. There are 3000 vines per hectare. The wine spends about four months in stainless steel before being released. Some 3500 bottles are produced.

I thought the wine was beautiful with white fruit and floral notes, more citrus notes than tropical. It also had good minerality, acidity and some sapidity to it with a hint of an earthy character. In Italian you would say it brought forth the idea of the “macchia mediterranea.” Loosely translated that means the scrub bush you find in Italy around the coast that often smells of rosemary, thyme, linden trees, etc. I thought it was fairly complex for a Trebbiano albeit it was my first Trebbiano Spoletino. From some internet research, it appears that it is not genetically related to the more well-known Trebbiano Toscano.

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