Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Grape Spotlight: Orvieto Classico Trebbiano Toscano

Umbria is located at the very heart of the Italian Peninsula and is the only Italian region without a coastline or international border.  In the wine realm, it consists of about 15 sub-classifications with the Orvieto DOC the most prolific of these. It accounts for 80% of Umbria's vineyard plantings and most of the Umbrian wines available in the United States.  This DOC also includes the Orvieto Classico area located around the town of Orvieto itself and extends slightly eastwards to take in the land around Lake Corbara. This area reflects the original vineyard zone traditional known as Orvieto and before the DOC classifications extended these borders.

According to, "the vineyards which produce Orvieto wine are planted on both sides of the Paglia, the river which flows through Orvieto town en route to its confluence with the Tiber. The tufaceous soils and bedrock which are so characteristic of the area not only contribute to the quality of the local terroir, but are also well suited to the excavation of cellars for long-term storage". This calcareous tufa [or tufo is] ‘a porous or vesicular carbonate of lime, generally deposited near the sources and along the courses of calcareous springs’ -- Tufo (tufa) vs. calcareous, expressions of limestone in Italy.

The Orvieto DOC and Orvieto Classico are reserved exclusively for white wine and may contain between 40to 60% Trebbiano Toscano, 15 to 25% Verdello, and up to 20% maximum of Grechetto, with Canaiolo bianco (Drupeggio) and/or Malvasia Toscana accounting for the remaining percentages.  

Trebbiano Toscano has several local synonyms with the most common being Procanico, and is also synonymous with Ugni Blanc. Again via, "it is believed that Trebbiano Toscano was introduced to France during the 14th Century, when the papal court moved from Rome to Avignon, in the southern Rhône Valley. In the 15th and 16th Centuries, the variety was used in various parts of southeastern France, under the name Ugni Blanc".  The grape is disease resistant and somewhat protected from Spring frosts by being late budding but needs abundant sunshine in order to fully ripen. 

Cantine Bellini is a family winery featuring a fifth generation of winemaker and a pedigry of over a century farming the Chianti countryside. Although they specialize in Ruffino, they have expanded into the Orvieto D.O.C. under their SELENE brand with the Bellini Orvieto Classico 2020 ($10.99) - purchased at Total Wine. The wine is a blend of 50% Trebbiano, 20% each Grechetto & Verdello, and 10% Malvasia toscana. After fermentation, it spends three months in stainless steel tanks and doesn't match the standard description of Orvieto wines as a dry, peach-scented wine. Instead, this wine's aroma is dominated by floral notes, with strong minerality and a pleasant light lime character. Moderate acidity, but very crisp and light. 

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