Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winter White - Argillae Orvieto 2013

The temperatures may be quite frosty here in the northeast but if I'm eating a pan fried delicate fish like flounder, I'm still gonna want a white wine. I'm big on Italian whites these days. There's such incredible variety and value in Italy's biancos that it's a shame that most consumers won't take a chance with some of the great offerings in the everyday price points. There is so much enjoyment to be had beyond Pinot Grigio.

Our trip to Italy last spring turned me on to the beauty of Orvieto's wines. It's a DOC that is Umbria's biggest yet it used to produce mostly dull, uninteresting juice. But now the so-called world-wide quality revolution has obviously touched this little corner of the the globe also. Argillae is a producer repped by one of my favorite importers, Vias. Vias is one of those companies that seems to have no weak spots in the portfolio. There's quality up and down the line. So when I turn a bottle to the back label and see Vias' name, I have no doubt that the wine will be good.

Grechetto and Trebbiano are the main grapes of Orvieto and must account for at least 60% of the blend. Malvasia and Canaiolo Biano will usually make up the balance but in this case there's Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnay in the blend also. Now as an Italy purist, I generally eschew international varietals in my Italian wine, but the Argillae Orvieto is so tasty I had to climb down off of my high horse. This $11.99 beauty, which is fermented in stainless steel, has prominent pear and peach aromas along with floral notes and a nutty nuance that comes from a bit of aging on the lees (dead yeast cells). The orchard fruit flavors repeat boldly on the generous mid-palate, but there's bright, crisp acidity on the back end giving this wine lift. Enjoy.