We are fortunate to have a real live sommalier (also a guide, blogger, and friend) amongst our guest bloggers: Alessandra Mallozzi from Discovering Umbria. You may remember the lovely walk she proposed to us a few months ago, and she’s back today to talk up one of her favorite Umbrian wines.
“Life is too short to drink bad wines” declared Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe a couple of centuries ago. Honestly I don’t know exactly where he was when he wrote this sentence, but every time I think of this influential personality and his adventurous life, I always imagine this incredible man here in our Umbria during one of his Grand Tours from the cold and austere Germany to the sunny and chaotic Eternal City of Rome.
Stumbling on a mediocre wine in this region is rather impossible. All the wine areas (13 DOCs and 2 DOCGs) produce amazing wines and for this reason, for an enthusiastic wine lover like me, it’s aways very difficult to say which Umbrian wine is really my favourite.
However, given that I was born in a land where during the Middle Ages each town was at war against the other and built high and impregnable walls to protect their citizens from the enemies (and the enemies could be, just to give you an example, the people from Perugia or from Orvieto), my preferred wine is the special Grechetto produced in the area of my home-town, Todi. Joking and parochialism aside, there’s no question: Grechetto di Todi is a very fine wine.
Cultivated in this area for centuries, two thousand years ago Grechetto was even mentioned by the Latin historian Pliny the Elder in his work “Historia Naturalis”. ‘Peculiaris est tudernis’ (it is typical of Todi) he wrote, in reference to the particular vine which produced this dry white wine with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Grechetto, in fact, is not only the name of the wine, but also the name of this special kind of grape, whose DNA has been recently analyzed showing the deep difference among the other Grechetto cultivated in other areas of the region: clone g5 for Grechetto di Todi, clone g109 for the common one.
For these reasons, in May of 2010 the Ministry of Agriculture denominated this wine ‘DOC Todi’, an important recognition underlining its peculiar (as Pliny wrote in the 1st century A.D.!) characteristics as compared to the other Umbrian Grechetto, including in the newly created DOC Todi denomination other red wines like the traditional Sangiovese and the international Merlot produced in the same territory.
Geographically, this area includes not only the territories under the municipality of Todi, but also the neighbouring towns and villages of Massa Martana, Monte Castello di Vibio and Collazzone, along the Strada dei Vini del Cantico embracing the prestigious DOCG Torgiano Rosso Riserva and the other four DOCs: Assisi, Torgiano, Colli Martani, and Colli Perugini.
In addition, thanks to the specific morphology of the soil, the altitude, the exposure to the sun, and the climate, the area of our DOC has, beyond doubt, the best terroir in the region for the cultivation of this specific variety of grape.
Grechetto di Todi DOC has a typical intense straw yellow colour, the aroma is rich in delicate floral and fruity notes, like green apple, pear, pineapple, and citrus with hints of vanilla and spices in the versions refined in oak. The taste is soft, well balanced, pleasantly fruity, so incredibly complex and elegant that it can be matched not only with vegetable-based first courses but also with soft cheeses and white meat, definitely the best companion in our summer meals.
If you are travelling to Umbria next week for the International Wine Tourism Conference or are planning a visit to this region’s wine country, it’s worth it to seek out a local cantina which produces Todi DOC Grechetto:Alessandra M.