Monday, December 10, 2018

Orvieto: From The Heart Of Italy

Argillae's Orvieto is in Italy's Umbria region, landlocked and surrounded by other Italian regions in the heart of the country.  The area has changed shape since the time of the Romans and has seen many wars through the years, most recently World War II.

Argillae was founded by Cavaliere del Lavoro Giuseppe Bonollo in the hills north of the town and the 94-acre estate is now run by today's generation.  Their U.S. importer says winemaker Lorenzo Landi works with grapes grown in clay, sand and limestone.  Argillae, in fact, is the Italian word for clay.  The clay soil stays cool and helps the grapes grow better through the hot Umbrian summer.  Ancient fossils dot the landscape from two million years ago, adding their own special minerality to the fruit and the wines.

The 2016 Argillae Orvieto is a blend of grapes: Grechetto, Procanico, Malvasia, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  You may recognize Procanico by its local name - Trebbiano.  The different grapes were vinified separately in stainless steel tanks, then blended together and aged a few months in those tanks.  Alcohol is restrained, at 13% abv and I paid $11 by the glass for it at a Beverly Hills Italian restaurant.

This dry white wine strikes a nice balance between the floral and mineral aspects.  Served too cold, as it always seems to be in restaurants, it's hard to dig out any scent at all.  Once it escapes the clutches of the refrigerator, the citrus and minerals work hard enough to rival the flowers. The palate is mineral-driven and fits perfectly with pasta and chicken in a light tomato sauce.

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