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La Carraia Orvieto 2016
Pair this wine with Asian citrus salads, Gremolata sauces, lightly-seared bay scallops, or migas.
Orvieto Classico is one of the best known white wines from Central Italy. Its long history begins with the Etruscans and continues in the Middle Ages when it was a Papal favorite. It is a classic Italian white, made from native varietals grown in vineyards surrounding the historic hilltop town of Orvieto. To preserve its hallmark freshness, it is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.
Blend: 40% Grechetto, 30% Procanico, 20% Malvasia, 10% Verdello
Today, the winery owns a total of 200 acres and is bottling its own wines in the heart of the Orvieto Classico, and a small amount of the excellent single vineyard Orvieto: Poggio Calvelli. The remaining property is planted to Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. La Carraia is the leading estate in the new emerging production of excellent red wines from the Orvieto zone.
Centered upon the lush Apennine Range in the center if the Italian peninsula, Umbria is one of the few completely landlocked regions in Italy. It’s star red grape variety, Sagrantino, finds its mecca around the striking, hilltop village of Montefalco. The resulting wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco, is an age-worthy, brawny, brambly red, bursting with jammy, blackberry fruit and earthy, pine forest aromas. By law this classified wine has to be aged over three years before it can be released from the winery and Sagrantino often needs a good 5-10 more years in bottle before it reaches its peak. Incidentally these wines often fall under the radar in the scene of high-end, age-begging, Italian reds, giving them an almost cult-classic appeal. They are undoubtedly worth the wait!
Rosso di Montefalco, on the other had, is composed mainly of Sangiovese and is a more fruit-driven, quaffable wine to enjoy while waiting for the Sagrantinos to mellow out.
Among its green mountains, perched upon a high cliff in the province of Terni, sits the town of Orvieto. Orvieto, the wine, is a blend of at least 60% Trebbiano in combination with Grechetto, with the possible addition of other local white varieties. Orvieto is the center of Umbria’s white wine production—and anchor of the region’s entire wine scene—producing over two thirds of Umbria’s wine. A great Orvieto will have clean aromas and flavors of green apple, melon and citrus, and have a crisp, mineral-dominant finish.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.