2018 Antonelli Trebbiano ‘Anteprima Tonda’ Amphora
Region: Montefalco < Umbria < Italy
Grapes: Trebbiano Spoletino
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; vineyards on limestone/clay soils surrounded by forest and olive groves; fermented in a combination of terracotta and clay vessels (amphora) for 3 months without the use of commercial yeasts; goes through malolactic fermentation and is racked back into the clay vessels for an additional 9 months; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 13% ABV; 250 cases
Winemaker: Fillipo Antonelli
We love discovering grape varietals, while also learning something new in the process. Like this obscure white grape, Trebbiano Spoletino, from Umbria, which grows around the hilltop towns of Montefalco and Spoleto, near Perugia. The confusing thing is that Trebbiano covers a whole host of Italian white grape varieties, unrelated to one another – and most of which suck, known for producing vast quantities of dull, flabby whites. Blame Trebbiano Toscana, aka France’s Ugni Blanc, for that. But (and here’s the “learning something new” part), Trebbiano has many faces, exceptions to the dull Trebbiano rule, that make some pretty cool wines. Like Marche’s Verdicchio, which also happens to be the Trebbiano found in Soave, Lugana and Abruzzese. The third is our star here, Trebbiano Spoletino. None are genetically related, nor do they taste alike.
This one is especially unique, as it is fermented and aged in terracotta and clay vessels called amphora. Tiny production, just 3000 bottles, its a wine we discovered --and fell in love with -- this summer in Italy while visiting our friend Filippo Antonelli, whose family has been cultivating grapes and olives (certified organic since 2012) since the 1860s. We came back and begged our importer to bring in a small quantity, and it finally arrived, just in time for its holiday debut. And the timing couldn’t be better, as this is the perfect winter white, round and textured, with a waxy, honied quality to the typical grapefruit notes in the grape. Serve cool, not too cold, with vegetable gratins, soups or light carnivore dishes.