Friday, February 7, 2020

The Wine Of The Sheep: Pecorino

Italy's Abruzzo region is known mainly for sheep and agriculture.  It is only fitting they would have a grape that marries both.  Pecorino is "the grape of the sheep."  The name of the Umani Rochi wine made from that grape, Vellodoro, means roughly the Golden Fleece sought in myth by the Argonauts.

Inside Abruzzo, nestled in the foothills and bathing in the waves of the Adriatic Sea, is the Terra di Chieti IGT.  White wines are the specialty of the region and Pecorino is the primary grape there, although Umani Ronchi grows largely Montepulciano in the deep, sandy clay soil of their Abruzzo vineyards. 

Umani Ronchi Terra di Chieti Pecorino Vellodoro 2018

The wine - a 100% Pecorino varietal showing the grape’s characteristic aromatics and high acidity - was vinified in stainless steel tanks and did not undergo malolactic fermentation, although it did rest on its lees for four months.  That contact with the spent yeast cells is what gives Vellodoro its weight.  Alcohol stays at 12.5% abv and it sells online for about $14.

This wine of the Pecorino grape displays a light floral note on the nose, but the show is its minerality.  Citrus aromas even take a back seat to the smell of wet driveway.  On the palate, lemon, lime and almonds play a bigger role amidst a ripping acidity.  Enjoy in the wintertime, but stick a bottle aside for when warm-weather foods take over.  

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