Terre de la Custodia Colli Martani Grechetto 2008
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.
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. Its ability to add texture and penetrating aromas have made it quite popular as of late.
Many of the producers famous for their Sagrantino-based red wines from Montefalco also produce single varietal Grechettos from the adjacent Colli Martani DOC. These wines are expressive of chamomile, white flowers, smoke, mint and fennel and have juicy lemon, green apple and stone fruit flavors.
Grechetto is an excellent alternative to an unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot grigio!