2019 "Cà Viti"
Orvieto Classico Superiore DOC
Orvieto is arguably one of Umbria's most important white wine DOC's, taking its name from the medieval city where the vineyards surround. Orvieto is situated on a flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. The city rises dramatically above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built from the same tuff stone. It seems to rise from fields streaked with vines, olive groves and cypress trees. Within the city walls Orvieto is home to to one of the greatest Gothic churches, with a breathtaking facade and frescoes that some say rival Michelangelo's in the Sistine Chapel. Below the city, Orvieto has a labyrinth of caves and tunnels that lie beneath the surface, dug deep into the tuff (volcanic rock), these secret hidden tunnels are open through guided tours. These tunnels were multifunctional. used as wells, tombs, cisterns and even secret escape passageways from homes so that in times when the city was under siege, noble families could safely get out. The other incredible function of these ancient tuff caves was to store wine! As you'll read below, Enrico Neri has ancient Etruscan tombs and caves right below their winery where their wine ages as it once did thousands of years ago!
2019 "Cà Viti" Orvieto Classico Superiore DOC by Enrico Neri
Grape: 50% Grechetto, 40% Procanico & 10% Chardonnay
Tasting Notes: The color is a vibrant straw yellow. Intense aromas of fresh white fruits, delicate floral bouquet and almond background. In the mouth the wine is well-balanced with bright acidity and minerality. There is a fruity and floral element with structure and great length.
Recommended Drinking Window: Best now until 2030
Temperature of Service: 50-54° F
Decanting: No decanting needed
Orvieto DOC is an Italian wine region centered around the commune of Orvieto. What's interesting about this DOC is that it crosses both the Umbria and Lazio regions of Italy. Although it crosses into Lazio, it's perhaps the most well-known wine producing area of Umbria, famous in particular for its white wines. However, the area also produces red wines under the name DOC Rosso Orvietano.
Orvieto Bianco is a blend of mostly the Grechetto and Procanico (Trebbiano) grape varieties. By DOC law and regulation, these two grapes must account for at least 60% of the finished blend. The remaining 40% can be made from any combination of permitted white grape varieties, such as Drupeggio (Canaiolo Bianco), Verdello, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Malvasia. The "Cà Viti" by Enrico Neri is made from 50% Grechetto, 40% Trebbiano & 10% Chardonnay.
This wine is also specifically a Orvieto CLASSICO. There are two principal types of white Orvieto wine: "Orvieto" and "Orvieto Classico", depending on the specific area where the wine has been produced. As is the case with many of Italy's famous wine regions, the Orvieto viticulture area has a "classico" zone, a traditional, smaller, "classic" vineyard area which produces the best-quality wines. For example, this is also seen in Italy's famous Chianti region in Tuscany; there are both Chianti and Chianti Classico wines.
Oriveto is famous for its tuff, limestone and volcanic soil. In fact, viticulture was introduced to the Orvieto region by the Etruscans, who carved out cellar-like caves from this volcanic soil that could house wine production with long, cool fermentation. Back then they produced a sweet, golden-yellow wine that was very popular in the ancient world. Then, from the Middle Ages to the mid-20th century, the Orvieto region was known for the sweet dessert wine made with the “noble rot” called Botrytis cinerea. Unlike most other botrytis wines where the grapes are introduced to the fungus while they are still on the vine, the grapes of Orvieto were exposed to the fungus AFTER harvest, when they packed into crates and barrels and stored in humid grottoes carved out of the tuff stone. These wines were primarily from the Trebbiano sub-variety called Procanico, which produces smaller berries than the Trebbiano grapes used in Tuscany (Trebbiano Toscano). These ancient sweet wines were deep gold in color, described by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio as “the sun of Italy in a bottle”. Today, Orvieto is typically dry, but you can still find the semi-sweet style of wine called "Orvieto Abboccato".
Cantine Neri sits in Bardano, on the outskirts of Orvieto, a town perched on a volcanic rock dedicated to the viticulture tradition since the Etruscan times. The Etruscans understood the territory’s natural wine vocation and dug the first tuff caves to create great “natural” cellars. Still today, in these cellars, Cantine Neri’s wines are aging as they did 2,500 years ago!
Committed to their passion and dedication to winemaking, the Neri family has decided to live and work in the countryside. Their wine is a result of this connection between what characterizes their life and their devotion to nature.
The entire vineyard lies between 220 and 320 meters above sea level, with favorable vine exposure to optimize the gradual maturity of the grapes. The area is characterized by important temperature variations, with soil of volcanic origins, rich in clay. These elements contribute to create the ideal environment for viticulture practice. The approach to the vineyard integrates tradition and research, with a continuous attention to the needs of the land.
In the 1950s the Neri family bought ~100 acres (~42 hectares) of land, which included vineyards and olive trees. In the beginning they sold their grapes to other wineries, but in the mid-2000s, with the entry into the company of his son Enrico, they decided to vinify some of their varieties produced. They are a quality-oriented company with a focus on local varieties that have been present in Umbria for thousands of years. They company wants to raise awareness of their care for the environment, the landscape and the history of the land. If you go and visit the winery they offer guided tours and wine tastings where they can share their passion firsthand with you.
The company today is led by Enrico and his father, a true father-son duo. Enrico’s father deals with the vineyard, and Enrico himself vinifies the wines in the cellar. They’re a small winery, with a boutique production of only 50,000 bottles a year.
The freshness and lightness of this Orvieto Classico Superiore make it perfectly suited for dishes with intense, but delicate flavors: seafood appetizers, pasta courses (linguine with clams), fish or braised white meats (chicken, pork, veal).
For our recipe pairing, we chose a traditional dish from Perugia that calls for veal scaloppine with a tasty sauce of minced prosciutto, anchovies, capers, sage and lemon.
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