International interest in the red wines of Umbria has been growing, largely due to the rising profile of its indigenous grape Sagrantino. The limited plantings of this highly tannic grape are located around the town of Montefalco. But across the region as a whole, many of the red wines are based on Sangiovese. Here are two excellent examples that I came across at a recent tasting of wines from Tenuta Le Velette, a winery from Orvieto, hosted by their Ontario importer Noteworthy Wines.
Rosso di Spicca 2012, Rosso Orvietano D.O.C., 85% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, 13% alcohol ($16.00., $192 per case, imported into Ontario by Noteworthy Wines)
I prize wines like this. The nose is resplendent with fresh, vibrant fruit aromas that suggest cherries, raspberries and blackberries, along with notes of violets and a hint of dried herbs and mint. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity, medium body and alcohol, and modest tannins. The palate is fresh and lively, and the finish is pleasantly long. This is an excellent “bistro” wine, and great for sipping at any time. While I’m scoring this at 88, it gets additional props for the pure pleasure it brings. (88+)
Tenuta Le Velette 2009 Accordo, IGT Umbria, 100% Sangiovese, 13% alcohol, $20.00 ($240 per case, imported into Ontario by Noteworthy Wines, not yet available through the LCBO)
This pure expression of Sangiovese has an intense nose suggesting ripe cherry and blackberry fruit, violets, and a hint of spice. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity, medium alcohol, and noticeable but ripe tannins. There is some modest oak treatment here, but the wood spice and resin mostly hide under the rich fruit, and give the wine a pleasing breadth. Winemaker Corrado Bottai called this a “Sunday Wine”, in contrast to a more basic Rosso, but it comes at a very attractive price that makes it feasible to drink on other days of the week too! (Score 90)
Here are two very attractively priced wines from Argento of Argentina, from their new Esquinas line. Both are currently available in Ontario at the LCBO for just under $12.00
Esquinas De Argento Pinot Grigio, LCBO # 365494, $11.85.
The wine is pale yellow, showing glints of green. The nose is pretty and fresh, suggesting lemon and lime juice, white peach, and a hint of white flowers. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity and a pleasant finish. A very good Grigio for the price, perfect for a light aperitif. (Score 88)
Esquinas de Argento Cabernet Sauvignon, LCBO #358812, $11.90.
The wine is deep ruby, showing some purple on the rim. The nose featured pleasant green notes suggesting forest floor, cedar and tobacco leaf, backed by dusty blackberry and black currant — ripe juicy fruit that still retains some freshness. The wine is dry, with balanced acidity, modest tannins and a touch of heat that leads to a slightly bitter finish. This is a very good value for the price, fine with casual meals and it will do well as a party sipper. (Score 87)