Some Interesting (& lesser known) Italian Grapes

Nothing says interesting like Italian grape varieties, and these two are no exception with some new offerings brought in that are actually quite perfect for “patio” whites and all this hot summer weather we’ve been having!

Bombino bianco is most well known from Puglia, although it can also be grown in the regions of Marche, Lazio, Sardinia, Umbria, Campania, and where today’s featured wine is from; Emilia-Romagna. But there’s also a bit of a conundrum with this grape…is it called pagadebit, or mostosa, and better yet, the Pagadebit di Romagna wine is made with…what exactly? We certainly know that bombino bianco is a distinct grape variety, but this mostosa…is it the same grape as pagadebit? But wait a minute…I thought pagadebit was bombino bianco?

Ian D’Agata in his book Native Grapes of Italy states:…”at our present state of knowledge, we can say that mostosa is empibotte, but not bombino bianco. It is also likely to be pagadebit.”

All of these weird and wonderful grapes are called such for a reason: the grape name empibotte, means “fill the barrels, and pagadebit means “pay the debt”. Called such, because even during bad weather years, the grape is so productive that farmers count on this wine to pay off some debt! Light and refreshing, and only 12% abv, it makes it easy to sip this wine on the patio. Great lemony citrus aromas and flavours along with stony minerality and herbaceous notes of thyme and rosemary. Some added sauvignon blanc boosts the acidity! It’s not meant to be super complicated, this wine is both easy on the palate AND on the budget! Only $21 CAD on my shelf!

Orvieto is the famous white wine from Umbria typically made with grechetto, but only part of it. This grape also suffers from being hard to identify. The grechetto we speak of is Grechetto di Orvieto, however, some of these vines planted in Umbria just might be pignoletto, another native of both Umbria and Emilia-Romagna. And, it is almost always a blend, the wine being a mixture of both Grechetto di Orvieto and Grechetto di Todi.

This particular wine is a blend, but perhaps not what one might think. This is a blend of 50% grechetto, 20% sauvignon blanc, 20% vermentino and 10% procanico! Most people think of Orvieto as being semi-sweet or ambabile, but this one is most certainly not. Perhaps just a touch of sweetness on the tip of the tongue, that would be barely perceptible, and only to the most seasoned of tasters. But very refreshing with aromas and flavours of lemon, chamomile, and notes of blossom. Great high, zesty acidity that cleanses your palate and leaves you wanting another sip! A great wine for sipping on the patio, and the price too, is $21 CAD on the shelf!

Confusing? I know the geeky stuff might be too much, but concentrate on the taste profile (AND the price) and you’ll definitely want a bottle or two of these wines! Salute!

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