Sitting on volcanic tuff overlooking the plains of southwestern Umbria is the town of Orvieto, one of the oldest in Italy, dating back to the Etruscan period over 3000 years ago, in the landlocked Umbria region in central Italy known as the “green heart of Italy.” Home to the wines of Orvieto DOC, the town of Orvieto is known as the “City of Wine” because it is one of the most ancient cities of the world that has been dedicated to wine production throughout existence with tunnels and caves for making wine dug through the volcanic stone. In fact, the word for wine comes from an Umbrian word “vinu” says Attila Scienza. The cool caves were perfect for fermentation of the sweet white wine that made the region famous; in the 13th century, this thriving metropolis housed 30,000 people, more than in Rome!
In the 17th century, when the Pope repaired an ancient aqueduct, it was said:
The miracle is done, O Holy Father
with your water that we love so much
but the prodigy for us much happier would be
if you could change your water into Orvieto wine!
In addition to wine related activities and events, you can take guided tours of Orvieto’s underground tunnels and caves during the day.
So are you ready to taste with the “sun of Italy in the bottle”? That’s what D’Annunzio said of Orvieto. While the DOC allows six different types of white wine, ranging from dry to sew, the wines we have today are three dry white wines, and one red one.
Orvieto DOC Wines
- 2021 Cardeto Orvieto DOP Classico
- 2021 Cantina Altarocca Arcosesto Orvieto DOC Classico Vino Biologico
- 2020 Barberani Castagnola Orvieto DOC Classico Superiore Vino Biologico
- 2013 Castello di Montegiove “Elicius” Orvietano Rosso DOC
Umbrian Inspired Menu for Orvieto DOC Wines
- Cheese Board:
Proscuitto, Goat Cheese, Purple Haze, Artichoke Bruschetta, Olive Tapenade
- Salad: Antipasto salad with sliced tomato, garbanzo beans, grilled artichoke heart, sliced mushroom, sliced parmesan, procuitto
- Chicken CACCIATORE (recipe below; adapted from Epicurious)
- TO TRY: Porchetta al finocchio, pork roast with fennel—an Umbrian classic dish.
2021 Cardeto Orvieto DOP Classico
Grapes: Grechetto 40%, Trebbiano 45%, Chardonnay 15%
sample for my review
Founded in 1949 as a cooperative with 13 members, today Cardeto has 150 members cultivating 800 hectares and harvesting 7000 tonnes of grapes.
Color: Platinum, very pale, crystal clear
Aroma: Minerals, grassy, light stone fruit, asian pear, daisy, chamomile, crisp and clean,
Palate: Crisp, clean and simple, hint of lemon, nice acidity without being overwhelming, pleasant mouthfeel. This is not a complicated wine. Light eureka lemon finish.
Pairing: Very nice with the olive tapenade, the salt in the tapenade brings out more fruit in the wine. Very nice with our sushi, both together leave your mouth with cucumber melon flavors. Very nice with the purple haze cheese. Fabulous with an antipasto salad. It loves the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Great with the catccatori meal, it brings out a nice sass in the wine.
2021 Cantina Altarocca Arcosesto Orvieto DOC Classico Vino Biologico
Grapes: Organic Grechetto, Trebbiano Toscana (Procanico), Malvasia
All of their vineyards are farmed organically.
Color: Very pale platinum, white gold
Aroma: Light stone fruit, fresh pollen, fennel, daisy, asian pear
Palate: Very dry, lots of tart lemon and acidity, salinity, bone dry
Pairing: Artichoke tapenade is perfect with the wine, it loves the lemon and artichoke. The sushi rice is a bit too sweet for the wine, however it was not terrible, they come around and mingle nicely on the finish. Very nice with the purple haze cheese, the olive tapenade becomes super salty with the wine. Fantastic with our chicken dish. Great with our salad, loving the arugula which gives it nice pizzazz.
2020 Barberani Castagnola Orvieto DOC Classico Superiore Vino Biologico
Grapes: Organic Grechetto and Trebbiano
Color: Aproaching white gold
Aroma: Asian pear, meadow, anise, fennel, grass,
Palate: Very light on the palate, clean and easy to drink, lemon, asian pear, anise on the finish.
Pairing: Nice with our sushi rolls, the seafood, the artichoke tapenade was a perfect companion for the wine. Sue thought the salt in the olive tapenade would be overwhelming for the wine, but it handled it very nicely. Artichoke ravioli would be very nice with the wine. While the wine was nice with the chicken meal, it seemed kind of flat. We felt it would be better with a seafood dish. The wine was perfect with our antipasto salad especially the grilled artichoke hearts. It also loves the sliced parm and salty procuitto. Serve this wine with a grilled artichoke dipped in lemon garlic butter.
2013 Castello di Montegiove “Elicius” Orvietano Rosso DOC
Grapes: certified sustainable Montepulciano 70% and Sagrantino 30%
Color: Garnet, expected color for a wine that is almost 10 years old. Very dense. Mauve rim.
Aroma: Very heady, sandalwood, violets, amber, cigar box, cherry cola, such an inviting nose, cherry snuff, roses, carnation.
Palate: Very smooth, lots of pepper, Sichuan pepper, black pepper, smooth tannins, cherry and plum, bright fresh fruit, bright acidity, oak is nicely integrated into the wine and adds to the balance.
Pairing: The beautiful fruit in the wine is elevated with a little procuitto and parm. So nice with the antipasto salad. Depending on your bite depended on how it worked with the wine, however all of the bites worked with the wine. Great with the chicken. Would also do well with ossoo bucco or braised boar shanks. The braised meat and acidic tomato plus all the herbs works so well with the wine. This wine worked so well with this family style meal. Fantastic with the fresh herbs used in the preparation and as garnish.
Cacciatore means hunter in Italian, and this hearty, flavorful dish is satisfying after the hunt — whether it be for a paycheck, herbs from the garden, or food for the table. Serves 6.
- 1 4.5-5# whole organic fryer chicken, cut up
- 1 C flour combined with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper,
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 C white
- 1 28 oz can whole stewed San Marzano tomatoes, rough chop
- 1/2 C chicken broth
- 1 5 oz can tomato paste
- 3 T fresh chopped oregano
- 1/4 C (3.5 oz jar) organic capers
- Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.
- Fry chicken in hot oil until golden brown. Remove from oil
- Reduce heat; add onions, garlic; saute for 1-2 minutes until soft.
- Deglaze pan with white wine.
- Add chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, capers.
- Warm to simmer; add chicken to submerge (add chicken broth or wine as necessary).
- Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with 1# organic Cascatelli or your favorite hearty pasta.
Discover more about the green heart of Italy, Orvieto in Umbria from these wine writers:
and from this video:
You’re also invited to join our twitter chat on the topic at 8am Sat. May 7 at 8am or search twitter any time for #ItalianFWT:
- 11am EST Q1 Buon giorno! Benvenuti to our Italian Food Wine & Travel chat on the wines of Orvieto. Introduce yourself and your blog and where you’re tweeting from today. #ItalianFWT
- 11:05am EST Q2 Today’s #ItalianFWT chat highlights the white wines of Orvieto. Was this your first taste of the wines from Orvieto?
- 11:10 am EST Q3 What was your most interesting fact that you learned about the wines from Orvieto? #ItalianFWT
- 11:15am EST Q4 What types of wines from Orvieto did you taste? Share a pic. #ItalianFWT
- 1:20am EST Q5 Tell us more about the wineries or wines. #ItalianFWT
- 11:25am EST Q6 Did you prepare a pairing with these wines? Tell us about it. Share pictures or links. #ItalianFWT
- 11:30am EST Q7 Did you find the pairing successful? Tell us why/why not. #ItalianFWT
- 11:35am EST Q8 What other tidbits did you learn about the wines, wineries, foods of Orvieto? #ItalianFWT
- 11:40am EST Q9 Have you visited Orvieto? Share any tips or photos. #ItalianFWT
- 11:45am EST Q10 If you had to describe the wines of Orvieto to someone, what would you say? #ItalianFWT
- 11:50am EST Q11 Any last comments or questions? #ItalianFWT
- 11:55am ESTQ12 Shoutout to those who participated today: @WendyKlik @tsteffes @sommstable @Vignetocomm @culinary_cam @savortheharvest @lisathewinechef @lizbchicago @crushedgrapechronicles @pairchifoodwine @linda_lbwcsw. Thanks for participating with host @VinoTravels and to our sponsor @OrvietoDOC! #ItalianFWT
- 12pm EST Thank you for joining us for our #ItalianFWT chat on Orvieto wines! See you next month as we share indigenous white wines hosted by Marcia @Iam_joyofwine!
I haven’t had chicken cacciatore in years and since I have the same bottle as you, now I want to make the same thing and try them together. As always, I love the storytelling in your posts.
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Thank you! In all of our years of wine and food pairing, we’d never made it! And it was so surprisingly good with all 4 wines! Definitely try it!
Beautiful spread as always! My box had only white wines. Would love to try the rosso!
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Oh indeed! The red was amazing — and such a deal. We were impressed with all 4 wines and grateful to sample and write about them.
What glorious pairings! I love your description of the Orvietano Rosso!
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Thank you! We were really pleased with how the pairings worked out.