First impressions are everything, and the imprints they leave are often indelible. This certainly holds true for this noble wine, Grechetto Colli Martani D.O.C., from the Colli Martani Grechetto D.O.C. area of Umbria situated in Central Italy. The hill cities of Umbria, including the Umbrian capital of Perugia, produce world-class white wines and feature 2 D.O.C.G. and 13 D.O.C. wines. Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G.) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata (D.O.C.) are laws that safeguard the quality and quantity of the wine and regulate winemaking methodology, alcohol content, and aging processes. With the D.O.C.G. label, the Italian government goes one step further than D.O.C. to guarantee the stylistic quality of particular wines.
The vineyards of Umbria rise from 500ft. to nearly 2000ft. in elevation. The soils of this region are medium-textured and feature rich clay and chalk. The clay provides excellent drainage and enables vintners to grow grapes that translate into wines of a firm, stable structure. The chalky nature of the soil composition lends a sense of desirable minerality to the wines.
The Grechetto grapes used in this delicious wine from Terre de la Custodia are harvested in the cool early morning. After they are brought to the winery they are kept cool to avoid premature fermentation. Once the various inoculated yeast strains have been selected, the 10-day cool fermentation process of the grapes begins. The recently constructed winery features state-of-art equipment designed by local artisans, and the computer-controlled machinery perfectly manages the entire process, from destemming and fermenting to winemaking and aging. The highly regulated operation also enables restraint in the handling of the grapes. There is cool airtight maceration (when the fruit is in contact with skin) slow cool fermentation, and minimal manipulation of juice in the steel tank when aging the wine on the lees, the dead yeast cells which are a by-product of fermentation. Altogether these controlled steps help impart desirable depth and complexity of flavor to the wine.
This wine is terrific to drink year-round and is nice to drink by itself. But true to Old World culture this wine is outstanding to drink with cheese and appetizers or to enjoy a meal. The Grechetto Colli Martani D.O.C. is not an overly fragrant or overly flavorful wine, yet has notes of subtly nuanced citrus with hints of soothing herbaceous and stone fruit elements. This wine is visually beautiful in the glass featuring a medium golden color. The color reveals a wine with some age, yet due to fermentation and aging in steel barrels and bottle-aging on the lees, it is not too tannic. It really delivers that round, balanced sensation. In the mouth, this wine has an understated, rich yet lively mouthfeel. It also imparts a real balance of fruit, alcohol, and very nice acidity making this a great food wine.
This wine is really a pleasant change of pace for those who enjoy medium-bodied wines that have not been produced utilizing wooden barrels. You know the friends who “whine” and say “I don’t like this wine, it tastes like oak”? This is a perfect wine for them and for today’s contemporary white wine lover.
This is a wine that I will search out to drink again. I look forward to sharing it with friends and family in my personal wine community anytime: on the patio, at spontaneous gatherings, even at special celebratory or holiday meals. Pairing this wine with fresh seasonal salads, cheese, pork, grilled or roasted chicken, Thanksgiving turkey or delightful appetizers will not disappoint.
Enjoy this delicious Italian wine selection, “cent’ anni!”