15th January 2021

Nicholas Belfrage MW Trebbiano Spoletino 2016, IGT Umbria

“Gold in colour, full-bodied, rich and aromatic – with good acidity.” Thus is described, in Jancis Robinson’s “Wine Grapes”, the wine of this Umbrian grape variety which Chiesa del Carmine is helping to revive after it nearly went extinct in the late 20th century. It should be noted that this sub-variety is probably not related to other members of the so-called “Trebbiano family” with the probable exception of Abruzzo’s Trebbiano Abruzzese, but is a grape of character unlike the widely-planted and frankly inferior Trebbiano Toscano.

This wine, which is vinified on the skins, does indeed display a light yellow-gold colour and a pungent slightly aromatic nose leading into a palate of pronounced body and character. Among the flavours are citrus (grapefruit), wild herb and butterscotch, the sweetness of which is cut by an almost austere acidity on the finish. The after-taste is long, thanks to that acidity, which in the end acts as a positive backdrop against which the wine’s other more friendly features may be appreciated.

A wine of parts which needs food to show at its best: goat’s cheese, parmesan, white meats, grills.

2015 Il Campanile, IGT Umbria

The predominant grape is Sangiovese, with smaller amounts of Merlot and “other Umbrian varieties”. The wine has been aged in French barrique. The colour is bright ruby, medium depth. Nose of red berry fruits and sour cherry with hints of vanilla, but the oak character is not excessive. There is good fruit-acidity with a re-statement, on the finish, of red berry and ripe cherry aromas. Wood tannins are detectable and there is a positive cranberryish bittersweet twist on the finish. The wine has good follow-through on the tongue while remaining, in youth, of limited complexity. But it responds well to a good long breathe so should develop with bottle-age. This wine might have greater Umbrian typicity with more Sagrantino and less Merlot.

An enjoyable wine which would marry well with picnics and barbecues.