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Monday, February 16, 2009

Orvieto Classico-Wine of Popes & Princes

copyright 2009, Maria Liberati
I am always blogging about this wine..Orvieto Classico. Besides being fresh and crisp it reminds me of Orvieto and its' magnificent Cathedral. I can just stand in front of it outside and admire it for hours..such a work of art and the wine Orvieto Classico is a work of art..
Read more about Orvieto Classico at
Copyright, 2009, Maria Liberati, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking

Umbria, “the great heart of Italy”, is known for its white wine, especially its crown jewel, orvieto. This area accounts for 15% of Italy’s wine production (80% of which is white) even though it is the 4th smallest region in this country. White it only produces one third the amount of Tuscany, the results are nothing to scoff at.

Orvieto, “wine of the popes”, has a history as rich as its flavor. Popes, princes, and artists visiting from Rome and Florence, two of its neighboring cities, once sipped this abboccato, or semi-sweet wine. The medieval city of Perugia makes up the hills that surround the Umbrian capital city of Orvieto. The rolling hills of these medieval villages, with their tufa limestone and volcanic soil, along with the rainy climate with dry, sun-filled summers, contribute to the success of Orvieto’s grapes.

From the popes of the Middles Ages to more modern Italians of the 20th century, Orvieto has been the token dessert wine. This soft golden wine has formed its sweet nectar by having the grape skins stay in contact with the juice for a while before fermentation; lower grape yields; and of course more meticulous selection. Grapes were often stored in crates, barrels, or humid grottoes for long periods of time after the harvest, which was unlike many other wines.

Today’s crisp, peachy orvieto is dry but semi-sweet, referred to as orvieto abboccato. This has made a comeback as a dessert wine, although small amounts (less than 5%) of dolce (sweet) are produced in this region as well. This deep golden wine, nicknamed by Gabriele d’ Annunzio ( a famous Italian writer) as “the sun of Italy in a bottle”, is a full, mellow, slightly bitter drink best drunk in the year produced. Orvieto abboccato is best paired with liver, cheeses, spicy foods, and fruit salads. In case there aren’t enough reasons to drink it, it has also recently been discovered that the anthocyanins that this wine is comprised of have great antioxidant properties. A glass a day…

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1 comment:

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