Monday, August 06, 2007

Red wine from Umbria

I had a nice Italian red table wine from Umbria this weekend, which was remarkable on a few points that recently have been hot topics...

It was fully "food friendly" in that it had a very nice level of acid still in it, which allowed it stand up to a rich dinner (salad w/ balsamic vinegar dressing, meat & potatoes), while at the same time had plenty of ripe flavors to please the palate...
...and it also sported a solid 14.5% alcohol though you'd have never guessed it from tasting it alone! And no headiness after a glass - though that was likely more an influence of having it with a meal and lively conversation...
Certainly it wasn't anywhere near the over-ripe category, and although some may point to it as an example of how the EU producers are vying for riper wines to please the critics, I say perhaps they are drifting in this direction because consumption is down within the EU, and this is what their new market demographic is demanding.

Overall, an excellent red table wine offering from Paolo Bea of Montefalco.
I've been told I sometimes come off as being against any organic wine philosophy (which is NOT the case) due to my public cynicism about Biodynamics, but this wine would be enough to prove anyone wrong on that point:
  • produced using only "natural methods" (though no definition of that term is agreed upon)
  • started the harvest on October 1st, 2002 (so no extended hang time)
  • no "industrial yeast" used
  • no sulfites added
  • unfined
  • a blend of wines from three different red grapes (I'm going to guess that one was sagrantino since this was made in Montefalco)
  • matured 2 years in stainless steel and 1 year in wood
  • 18,000 bottles produced, so certainly not a "mass production" item
One question still runs through my head: if they didn't use sulfites, what'd they use - velcorin? Even though the label states it wasn't fined, it doesn't say they didn't chill it, filter and hit it with velcorin (DMDC)* to make sure it wasn't going to go "off" in the bottle...
Certainly that'd have been prudent given that they're such a small production. However, the equipment needed for velcorin is expensive, so they probably don't have their own set-up.

*Velcorin (DMDC) is allowed for use in wine by the USA, OIV & the EU, so it wouldn't be that surprising to see it being used as a preservative in lieu of sulfur.


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