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Palazzone Orvieto Classico Vignarco 2016
Palazzone produces delicious white wines from Umbria’s indigenous varietals featuring tasty fruit, nerve and zip! The estate, which began bottling in 1982, has mastered the delicate art of adjusting the proportions of the five different grape varieties allowed in the blend by the Orvieto D.O.C.: Procanico, Verdello, Grechetto, Drupeggio and Malvasia Toscana, the very same used hundreds of years ago in this region with Ancient-Roman roots. From the Terre Vineate to the Campo del Guardiano, a single-vineyard blend intended for ageing, these whites are survivors of the golden-age of Orvieto Classico, when small producers hand harvested fruit and established an international reputation for greatness, coveted by kings and popes. Of course, Dubini is no stranger to great, voluptuous reds, made from both native and international varieties. Such regulation has the aim to encourage low environmental impact methods and to improve the preservation of natural resources in rural areas through agricultural and environmental measures.
Palazzone is practicing organic. No insecticides, fungiscides or systemic plant protection products are used. Low environmental impact products like sulfur and copper-based products are used. In vineyards prone to soil erosion, there are permanent cover crops between the rows of vines. The grass cover is mowed during the summer and depending on vineyard, the soil is either tilled or not. Low doses of SO2 are used in the wines for preservation.
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.