Monday, October 27, 2008

Umbria's Distinctive Grechetto

This month's trip through the wines of Umbria ends on a high note with a very good QPR white wine made with a distinctive grape called Grechetto.

Grechetto is not, strictly speaking, an indigenous Italian grape. Its origins can be found in Greece (hence the name) and has been used extensively as a blending grape. In Lazio, for instance, the Antinori family blends Grechetto with Chardonnay to make their famous white wine, Cervaro. In Umbria, however, the grape is increasing in popularity and being used to craft rich, full-bodied white wines with a distinctive flavor profile. And the good news is that an Umbrian Grechetto is affordable, too.

I tried an Umbrian Grechetto in the 2005 Arnaldo-Caprai Grecante from the Colli Martani DOC. ($17.99 in my local Bristol Farms store; available elsewhere for $9-$24). This yummy, distinctive wine was truly golden in color, with plentiful autumnal aromas of pears, herbs, and honeycomb. It was slightly spritzy upon first opening, which dissipated quickly. The wine's flavors also developed in the direction of late summer and fall orchard fruits, such as pears and white peaches. There was a zingy flash of lemon pith in the aftertase, which kept it from feeling too sweet or cloying.

This well-made wine went as well with a Thai chicken stirfry (which brought out its peachy character) as it did with an Umbrian-style cacciatore with lemon, capers, and anchovies (which brought out its lemony side). Grechetto turns out to be a versatile, food-friendly grape, as well as a great bargain.

Have you tried Grechetto? If you have any particular labels that you like, let me know in the comments below, because I'd love to sample some more wines made with this grape.

6 comments:

Diane Letulle said...

Deb, thanks for introducing me to a new variety. I always enjoy learning about new wine--I'll look for Grechetto at my local wine shop. It was great meeting you this weekend at WBC. So nice to put a face with a blog. Hope to see you at more wine events. Cheers, Diane

ajree said...

Thanks for all of your suggestions...

www.jokingright.blogspot.com

Terence said...

This is yet another instance in which I prefer the "lesser" wines of a producer to the big oaky monsters that typically come out of the cantina. And the price is in line, which you can't say for his big-time reds.

I'll take exception with your judgment on the "indigenousness" of the grape. It's been there for centuries and if it bears that name, it may or my not be due to a connection with Greece. Italian vitology is full of false etymologies and dubious stories regarding the provenance of grape varieties, the most egregious one being Aglianico. But more about that some other time.

Cheers!

Love Umbria said...

According to the Caprai winery notes on this wine Grechetto has been around in Umbria since at least Renaissance times so it must be well on its way to being considered a native grape by now!

Jason said...

Nice find! I picked up a bottle of this Grechetto a few weeks ago and agree with your tasting notes. I love the golden hue and the balance. It reminded me of another Italian white that I uncovered: Cesconi's Prabi from the Trentino region. The latter is made from an unusual hybrid varietal Manzoni Bianco (a cross between Pinot Blanc & Riesling). Try it if you can find it :]

oh btw, for any readers who live in the LA region, the Caprai Grecante is on sale at the Wine House in WLA for $11.99 with their free club card. A great buy on an awesome wine!

Never Better said...

does anyone know where to buy this wine in the Bay Area, CA?