La Carraia Sangiovese Dell Umbria 2001
La Carraia was founded in 1976 by the Gialletti and Cotarella families. Riccardo Cotarella, one of the most respected authorities on the production and marketing of Italian wines, is the winery’s co-owner and winemaker. La Carraia, thanks to its broad and diverse portfolio, is able to satisfy the needs of casual, value-oriented consumers with products like Sangiovese and Orvieto Classico, and the most demanding of collectors with their Fobiano. The winery owns a total of 198 acres located in the heart of the Orvieto Classico appellation. Of these, 172 acres are dedicated to the production of Orvieto Classico; the remainder features Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano grapes. The year 1995 marked the first release of Poggio Calvelli, a joint venture between La Carraia and Winebow. This wine represents a new style of Orvieto Classico, one that is aged in small oak barrels. Tizzonero and Fobiano, the two top-shelf wines produced at La Carraia, are known for consistent quality and overall versatility. These wines are excellent examples of Mr. Cotarella’s mastery with red grapes.
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau, Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.