Saturday, May 7, 2022

Orvieto White Wines - Hidden Treasures From Umbria #ItalianFWT

Orvieto White Wines - Hidden Treasures from Umbria, Italy
Orvieto is one of the dozen wine zones (DOC, DOCG or IGT) in Umbria which is bordered with Tuscany to the north, Marche to the east, and Lazio to the south. Umbria, which is the only land-locked region in Italy, has similar climate with rainy winters and sunny dry summers, terroirs, and diverse soils, like its northern cousin, Tuscany. Without the intense fame like Tuscany, tourists can visit Umbria’s wineries at their own pace and enjoy stunning hustle and bustle from the bus tours that pack the wineries. To explore these lesser known wines, the #ItalianFWT bloggers were sent with samples from #OrvietoDOC. Thank you wineries's generous contribution of wines and the coordination of Jennifer from Vino Travels ~ An Italian Wine Blog.

Photo Credit: ItalyFineWines

Orvieto wines have been ‘hidden’ treasures from the general wine public partly because the wine zone is in Umbria (vs Tuscany) and a couple other ‘big red’ Umbria wine zones (i.e., Montefalco DOC and Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG) fetch more attention in the American wine market due to more marketing efforts.

Photo Credit: Orvieto DOC

Orvieto wines, which are predominantly whites, deserve much more recognition - not only because of its top-notch dry whites but also its history in winemaking history since Middle Ages in Italy. It has also dominated the wine production in Umbria, approximating 80% of the region. The lighter, mineral, and more refreshing whites are produced from indigenous grapes, the Trebbianos, Verdello, Drupeggio, and the Malvasias. They are soft, deep with distinct notes of almonds and chamomile and hints of crisp apples. Weighty whites, which are blended with the Grechettos, are a pleasure to pair with seafood, chicken, and pork and to be enjoyed in the summer or colder weather as well. 

2019 Decugnano Dei Barbi Orvieto Classico Superiore Mare Antico

Although the winery was founded by Claudio Barbi in 1973, at Decugnano wine has been produced by monks back in 1212, at least eight centuries ago. Barbi’s goals are to make high quality and terroir-driven wines...not of a coincidence that manifests in the Mare Antico bottle. This is a blend of excellence, which consists of 55% Grechetto, 20% Vermentino, 20% Chardonnay and 5% Procanico and is fermented in stainless steel and 5% French oak barrel. Mare Antico 2019 expresses notes of golden apple and mature zesty citrus. The palate is characterized by bright acidity with a touch of salinity and minerality, and it closes out with a long and lingering finish.

2021 Argillae Orvieto DOC Superiore (SRP$10.99)

The Bonolle family is a well-known national-wide spirit company. They have bought an estate in Orvieto area, which has clay-based volcanic soil, aiming to make quality wines under the new re-brand Argillae in 2005. The Argillae Orvieto is blended with Grechetto, Procanico, Malvasia di Candia and a small amount of Chardonnay and Sauvignon. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and focuses on the expression of the grapes. A true poster child of Orvieto wines, the Argillae Orvieto is a fresh dry wine, with intense aromas of flowers, citrus, and tropical fruits. Broad to the nose and persistent on the palate, it charms with its elegance and its engaging flower and fruit scents.

Bigi Orvieto Classico Vigneto Torricella (SRP$8.99)

The Bigi winery and the city of Orvieto form one of the most inseparable pairings. The winery was founded by Luigi Bigi in 1880 and it’s one of the oldest wineries that remains in Orvieto today. The Bigi Orvieto Classico is one of the ‘Grands Crus’ of the area, which is made from 40% Trebbiano Toscano, 20% of Verdello, 20% of Grechetto, and Drupeggio and Malvasia Toscano for the remaining 20%. This is one of the most iconic wines of the area that is saline, supple and full-bodied.

2021 Custodi Belloro Orvieto Classico (SRP$9)

In 2003, Laura and Chiara Custodi started to make wines in their current land, which was bought back in 1965. The difficult beginning didn’t deter the desire of the sisters from making wines and good ones. For example, the Belloro Orvieto Classico is a fresh and lively blend of Grechetto, Drupeggio, and Verdello.

Please also check out other #ItalianFWT bloggers' Orvieto wine posts below.
  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will be sharing “Umbrian Red Wine Spaghetti and a Book Review."
  • Liz at What‘s In That Bottle is wondering “Why Aren’t we all Drinking more Orvieto?”
  • Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles will be writing about “Orvieto - the multifaceted white wine of Umbria."
  • Lynn at Savor the Harvest will be focusing on “Appreciating an Ancient Italian Wine Made For Today’s Palate.”
  • Camilla at The Culinary Adventures of Camilla is “Celebrating Spring with Vignole + 2020 Barberani Castagnolo Orvieto Classico Superiore."
  • Lisa at The Wine Chef is pairing “Umbria’s Famous White Wine, Paired With Spiced Pork Tenderloin.”
  • Nicole at The Somm's Table will be featuring “Easy Springtime Dinners with Orvieto."
  • Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings is uncovering “Orvieto White Wines - Hidden Treasures From Umbria.”
  • Linda at My Full Wine Glass is writing about “White wines from the heart of Central Italy.”
  • Susannah at Avvinare will be “Getting reacquainted with an old friend: Orvieto Wines.”
  • Rupal at Syrah Queen is sharing "The Soulful and Unique Wines of Orvieto."
  • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley is aiming to "Discover the Green Heart of Italy: Orvieto DOC in Umbria."
  • Terri at Our Good Life is pairing "Slow Cooker Short Ribs and Elicius Orvietano Rosso: A Match Made in the Heavenly Stars."
  • Jen at Vino Travels will be highlighting “Orvieto, Italy’s Classic White Wine.”

Monday, January 31, 2022

Bordeaux In a Box - Celebrating Chinese New Year With A Box Wine!

Box wines are considered as inexpensive party wine in general in the US - a crowd pleaser that's cheerful but nothing too serious. There is an on-going joke that people won’t remember what wine they are drinking after three drinks, anyway. Why bothers opening your 92-point Bordeaux that costs $40? 

What if you can serve a high-quality but affordable Bordeaux right from the get-go? Wineberry Box wines may very well be introducing this new proposition - one of the best “box” wines out there that tastes good and looks good so you can go grand without breaking the bank. With the Château Moulin de La Roquille Bordeaux Cotes de Franc 2018 Box, I think I have found the box wine that I love...for its taste and the 3-liter bag (i.e., 4 counts of 750ml bottle) inside the box that keeps the wine pouring for my large Chinese New Year family feast.
One Box equals to 4 750ML Bottles
While I find the wooden box of the Wineberry Box super French chic, I won't buy it just for the box. The wine must be good in order for people to spend $45. I’m pleasantly surprised to say the Château Moulin de La Roquille Bordeaux 2018 is a delicious light red blend that will be a delight to pour in any big or small parties. It has lots of berry and cherry characters and a tad freshly cut wood on the palate. 
Left: Pan-fried Chicken Cutlet, Crispy Port Belly, Roasted BBQ Pork
The high percentage of Merlot in the blend (i.e., 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc) presents an approachable and tenderly tannic profile that will go well with crispy pork belly, roasted BBQ pork, and pan-fried chicken cutlet that are served in the family dinner. Since Cab Franc is known for its food-friendliness and versatility, a bit of it in the blend goes a long way to make the pork and chicken taste extra delicious.

The Château Moulin de La Roquille, which has been operated by the Audouin family since 1964, has been known for producing top-grade Bordeaux at affordable prices. The estate is made up of 95 acres of vineyards from two appellations: Bordeaux Supérieur and Francs Côtes de Bordeaux.  The third-generation producers, Didier Audouin and his wife Hélène, took on this sustainable drinking project a few years ago to cut down the use of bottles and cost. The innovative packaging that tightly seals the air from getting into the remaining wine at the pouring spout will preserve the wine for up to six weeks.

Bordeaux wines have a strong reputation among the Chinese population, which are the synonym and gold standards for French wines. The Bordeaux brands are so fond of by Chinese that some ultra-rich Chinese people have been buying vineyards in Bordeaux. For the past decade, it’s close to 160 Châteaux have shifted to Chinese ownership, which is around 2% of the region’s 6,500 estates. 

For regular wine consumers, we buy and drink Bordeaux, especially red wines which are believed by Chinese drinkers to have purported health benefits such as its anti-oxidants, anti-ageing and heart-health benefits. Also symbolically, the red color - the color of Chinese New Year means prosperity, happiness, and togetherness. For me, the Château Moulin de La Roquille Bordeaux box becomes my defacto wine that my family and friends would love to have a glass to kick of the Year of Tiger!
Eric from Woodberry Pouring Top-Grade Box Wines in Wine Fair in NYC 

*The Woodberry Box was a sample. All photos and ideas of this blog are mine.