Orvieto: It Doesn’t Get More Terroir Than This

Written on 3 febbraio 2012 by Rebecca

Terroir, terroir. Perhaps the most overused word in conversing and writing about wine, bandied about with an abandon which has led to it having lost almost any real meaning. A word which I was determined to avoid–along with red wine stains on my shirt–during this past month of blogging about Umbria and her wines; alas, I was ultimately unsuccessful at both these endeavors.

Just as a splotch of Sangiovese will inevitably show up sooner or later during five full days of wine tastings, so will the word terroir in a region in which this slippery concept of “sense of place”—meaning, of course, geography, geology, and climate, but also that more elusive context of history, culture, and human touch—is so prominent in the wines: how they are made, how they are marketed, how they are paired.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to fully understand or appreciate Umbrian wines outside the backdrop of its terroir. These wines are the essence of a region–and its people–bottled, and nowhere is this more evident than in the wines of Orvieto. A sip of this and you taste…well, I’ll just show you:

Barrels aging Orvieto Classico DOC

 

Our first tasting of the day in Orvieto

A winter sky over the hills surrounding Orvieto

 

One of the most breathtaking cathedral facades in Italy dominates Orvieto's piazza

 

Orvieto's undulating hills are dotted with tiny villages and fortresses

 

Here's the real terroir of Orvieto: the tufa volcanic rock the town is built on, much of which has been dug out over the centuries for storerooms, workshops, and dovecotes.

 

Tasting some of that terroir at the Enoteca Regionale in Orvieto, which features wines from across Umbria.

These wines are paired with Umbrian classics: bruschetta and prosciutto

A rustic plate of pasta is a perfect foil to the Orvieto DOC wines

A sweet wine from Orvieto is what this dessert needs....

Our visit to Orvieto closes with a tasting of some local reds

The clay soil, the rolling hills, the misty lake, the family who owns these vines. This is Orvieto's terroir.

Rebecca

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