Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani 2010, Italy

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COST: $19-21

WHAT: I love finding new wines, and not only was the Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani 2010 from Italy a new wine, but I had never tasted this grape before. The Grechetto grape is grown only in central Italy in the wine region around the town of Montefalco.

What a beautiful wine it makes. It’s a gorgeous straw yellow, with intense fruit and floral aromas. The first sip is pleasant, but not memorable. But as the wine opens, and especially when you have it with food, the flavor explodes in your mouth.

It’s well-balanced and fruity with some citrus notes. I thought it had some of the characteristics of a buttery Chardonnay; Teri thought it tasted a bit like a Viognier. The longer the wine sat in the glass the better it got. I would chill the wine, but take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. The winery recommends serving it at 50 degrees.

The grapes were hand picked, collected in small containers and gently pressed. Fermentation took place at low temperatures and then the wine spent three months in stainless steel and three months in the bottle before it was released.

The wine is made from 100 percent Grechetto grapes.

Arnaldo-Caprai has been producing a Grechetto wine since 1989.

Montefalco is about 40 miles north of Rome in the Umbria region, which is best known for Orvieto wine. It is just southeast of Tuscany, near enough to be overshadowed by that region’s great wine and food.

If growers continue to increase their plantings of Grechetto as they have in recent years, we will hear a lot more about this one.

WINERY: Arnaldo Caprai bought a small plot of land in 1971, planning to plant a few grapevines after a successful textile career. He liked the grapes that grew and kept buying more land when he could.

He started the Arnaldo-Caprai winery, and now his son Marco is taking a leading role with the business. The winery owns about 370 acres, 220 of which are planted with grapevines. The company is committed to sustainable farming.

The hilly, landlocked region gets warm, dry summers and cold winters with occasional snow.

The region is known better for its Sagrantino red wine, a wine that has been growing around Montefalco for more than 400 years. Romans mentioned grape vines in the region 2,000 years ago. Montefalco translates to mountain oak.

The main white grape varieties grown on the estate include Grechetto, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, while Sagrantino is the leading red variety together with Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

GOES WITH: Teri and I tried this with flounder filets that we pan fried. The fish is light and tender, so after soaking it in milk and dredging it in Zatarain’s seafood breading, we only fried it for a few minutes, until the crust was golden.

The wine was an outstanding pairing, with the light freshness of the wine matching the delicate flavor of the flounder. The fish brought out the best characteristics of the wine, really opening up the flavor.

I think it would go well with any mild fish. The winery also suggests pairing it with veal and poultry.

WINE EVENTS

AUG. 9
Wine and tapas tasting,
5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99; (706) 722-4805

AUG. 10
Wine and beer tasting,
4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706) 922-9463

AUG. 11
Wine and beer tasting,
2-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706) 922-9463

AUG. 16
Wine tasting,
5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three white wines and three reds and matching cheeses; $5 with $3 rebate on purchase of one of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

AUG. 22
Wine dinner,
6:30-9 p.m., Calvert’s 475 Highland Ave.; featuring the wines of Hearst Ranch; cost TBA; reservations, (706) 724-1442


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