Argillae Grechetto 2012
And it is from these particular soils that this winery takes its name, ARGILLAE. Argilla is the Italian word for clay. Azienda Agricola Argillae is set on the hills between Allerona and Ficulle, northwest of Orvieto, and boasts some 640 hectares of land, of which 170 are planted with vine (the rest is devoted to olive groves, corn and woods). The vineyards are located on the slopes of the hills, at approx 1000 to 1380 feet of altitude and enjoy good exposure to the east and west and ideal microclimate. This territory is characterized by rock formations called "calanchi", a type of badland formed by erosion in clayey bedrock, particularly along the river valleys, some 2 millions years ago. As a proof that this area was once under water, the land is rich in fossilized seashells and turtle shells. With the expertise of renowned oenologist Lorenzo Landi, Argillae winery offers three interpretations of Umbria, its land and its history: Orvieto, Grechetto and a red blend called Sinuoso.
Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes grow in every region throughout Italy—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean.
Italian Wine Regions
Naturally, most Italian wine regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate and a notable coastline, if not coastline on all borders, as is the case with the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The Alps in the northern regions of Valle d'Aosta, Lombardy and Alto Adige create favorable conditions for cool-climate grape varieties. The Apennine Mountains, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south, affect climate, grape variety and harvest periods throughout. Considering the variable terrain and conditions, it is still safe to say that most high quality viticulture in Italy takes place on picturesque hillsides.
Italian Grape Varieties
Italy boasts more indigenous grape varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most Italian wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but are declining in popularity, especially as younger growers take interest in reviving local varieties. Most important are Sangiovese, reaching its greatest potential in Tuscany, as well as Nebbiolo, the prized grape of Piedmont, producing single varietal, age-worthy Piedmontese wines. Other important varieties include Corvina, Montepulciano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course the white wines, Trebbiano, Verdicchio and Garganega. The list goes on.
Producing Umbria’s best snappy and tactile white wines, Grechetto is the region’s star white variety. Whether on its own or as part of a blend, this grape has elevated the general quality of whites throughout this central, land-locked Italian region. Producers have tended to favor its use in the native Orvieto white wine, a dynamic blend composed of varying percentages of Trebbiano, Grechetto, Verdello and Canaiolo bianco, to name a few. Somm Secret—Many famous Sagrantino producers from Montefalco also produce single varietal Grechettos from the adjacent, Colli Martani DOC.