Orvieto DOC wine guide: all you need to know about a legendary white wine
Orvieto is one of the most spectacular places in the world.
A city nestled on a large tuff hill, made of clay layers that have followed over the centuries, thanks to the eruptions of the Volsinii volcanoes and the relentless work of rain and wind.
A bit of history of one of the oldest wines in Italy
It is said that it was the Etruscans, in the mists of time, who dug the first tuff caves to create great “natural” cellars, and, in fact, still today in these cellars, the wine seeks rest. The city is so tied to this wine that it has given it its name, a rare fact reserved only for great wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, and Soave.
Disciplinary of the Orvieto DOC wine
The main vines that concur to produce the Orvieto are the Tuscan Trebbiano, also called Procanico, which is joined by Grechetto for a minimum of 60%, in the remaining 40% are allowed the classic white grapes cultivated in Umbria and Viterbo.
Where is the Orvieto DOC produced?
The production area of the Orvieto DOC wine is divided into Orvieto Classico, the historic area close to the city, and Orvieto, which extends all the way around to reach Viterbo.
Organoleptic characteristics and types of Orvieto DOC
The dry version of Orvieto is one of the best Italian whites, very savory, softened by yellow flowers, honey, hazelnuts, moss, and a lovely roundness that comes from the soil rich in tuff.
The simple Orvieto (entry-level wine) is a light and drinkable wine with a pale yellow color that is tinged with green and fruity notes that pairs well with fish dishes, Thai food, dim sum, pizza, and pasta.
The Orvieto Classico Superiore is more complex and structured, with a mineral background due to the particularities of the tufaceous soils. It is a fat, aristocratic wine that follows the peculiarities of this marvelous territory and has slightly decadent scents of baked fruits. But at the same time, it is a tenacious, sharp wine that fills the mouth with a series of alternating mineral layers, giving an amazing sensation of fullness.
Finally, real oenological pearls are Orvieto passito from overripe grapes and noble rot, attacked by botrytis. Produced in small batches, they are among the highest expressions of Umbrian wines. It has an ancient golden color and an enveloping bouquet, with caramelized fruit, flowers dipped in honey, dried fruit, and candied citrus peel. It is sweet and velvety in the mouth, but it is crossed by a sapid-acid vein that keeps the wine lively. The nuances of medicinal herbs make this wine unique and compelling.
Why you should visit the wineries around Orvieto
The wineries around Orvieto rise on top of the hills surrounding the city and often hide real labyrinths dug out of the tuff. Exploring these caves that have been around for hundreds of years and then coming out with a glass of wine and a view of the city in the distance is priceless.
If you love white wines, you’ll find amazing wines in Orvieto: dry, sweet, and sparkling too. And if you are fond of red wines, know that the young DOC Orvietano Rosso, especially in Ficulle, is skyrocketing, so you have no more excuses!
Orvieto DOC food pairings?
Orvieto is a very precious wine when it comes to pairings with food. The entry-level wine is a simple, fragrant, savory wine and is good with baked fish, spaghetti with clams, vegetarian pizzas, or with Gorgonzola and walnuts.
Orvieto Classico Superiore is perfect for the rich classic dishes of Umbrian cuisine: risotto with mushrooms, omelet with truffles, spaghetti with garlic and oil, Norcia ham, parmigiana ravioli, spaghetti with clams, chicken tikka masala, Chicken Cacciatore, Vitello Tonnato, truffle risotto, pasta alla carbonara, and we end with an exquisite oven-baked black trout.
For an Orvieto Muffa Nobile, the choices are endless! Classic desserts like Zuppa Inglese, peach cheesecake, lemon cream tart, and cantucci are delicious, but remember that they’re also delicious with game terrines, pates, and blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Stilton, Blu del Monviso, and Cheddar.