Umbria Uncorked: 2012 Scacciadiavoli Grechetto Umbria IGT, Italy

"Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever." – Aristophanes

In any conversation about the wines of Italy, the average wine enthusiast immediately thinks of the Tuscany wine region, Chianti Classico and Brunello. This makes sense, seeing a majority of movies and television focus on these areas. But as many of you know, those two regions are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, Italy is a seemingly bottomless barrel of wine varietals, much of which the garden variety wine consumer has little familiarity.

You could easily spend a lifetime attempting to give them all a swirl and still have a few left; with over 1000 different varietals which have been identified, but the total number of plantings is quite small in retrospect. According to the wiki page on Italian wine, Italy's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIPAAF) there's only 350 documented and authorized grape varietals, with a total of just over 500 which have been identified as a wine bearing grape, many of which are indigenous. Here's a list of wine bearing grapes you're likely to run into at the average wine shop (brick&mortar) here in the states, and others which may be available via the online marketplace.

I took a trip to explore a new-to-me region just south of Tuscany, a fascinating wine producing area called Umbria and I gave a talk on tourism at an International Conference. Which admittedly, was a bit intimidating, and I nearly caused an international incident with the presentation. Since then, having survived their slings and arrows, and making my way back home, I've become not only a fan but an advocate of the unsung white wines of this region.

Part of the reason I went, arrived via some advice I received from none other than the often quoted Lord Byron, here's what he said, "I am so convinced of the advantages of looking [travel] at mankind instead of reading about them, and of the bitter effects of staying at home with all the narrow prejudices of an Islander" ~ Lord Byron. It was with that advice in my back pocket that I set off on a path, that changed my perspective about the world of wine and the folks behind all the labels. There was much to learn back then, and I'm still learning new wine-related knowledge every day, all of which helps guide the words, thoughts, and ideas I share/express on this blog.

That said, let's jump into today’s wine of the week, we are going to examine one of my favorite grapes from this region. It is a grape which I think is one of the better grapes Italian winemakers have perfected, it’s called Grechetto Bianco or just Grechetto for short. And it's been in Umbria so long, growing so amazingly well, that it has forgotten its roots in Greece.

I would invite you to check out the Scacciadiavoli website, where you're sure to find many more interesting facts. Like the ominous story behind the name, one which may have you wondering which wines do work best for casting out unwanted spirits?

I know many vino-sapiens gravitate toward Italy’s red wines [who can blame them] but the white wines from Umbria are just as stunning, and Montefalco specifically. There are also a few other tasty varietals, for example, Falanghina, from this region which has flown under the radar for far too long. So many of these wines are known for their versatility, either being both a food/wine pairing champ or just an excellent wine for enjoying with friends and family while hanging poolside. 

Now it's time for the tasting note: I found the nose brimming with fruit, bright stone fruit apricots, a whiff of almonds, with some floral notes stirred into the mix. The color is hued in gold, leaning toward straw. After the first slurp, bam, lemon/lime, apricots and white flowers floating on a canvas of rich, round flavors, but with a gentle slap of acidity to keep you coming back for more. My score, a comfortable 90 points and makes a great food wine that easily will pair with a majority of appetizers.

In my opinion, this is the quintessential white grape of the Umbria; a bottle of wine that sells for about eight Euros most place is starting to come ashore here in the U.S selling in the $15 - $18 range. I highly recommend this wine for everyday drinking and again award it 90 points. So what are you waiting for; grab yourself some of the Umbrian experience for yourself, to see what I'm talking about. Until next time folks, please remember to sip long and prosper cheers!

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a sample for the review process.


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