When the heat and humidity is enveloping you like spandex, refresh yourself with a glass of the 2009 Antinori Campogrande Orvieto Classico.
In 1940, Marchese Niccolo Antinori purchased Umbria’s Castello della Sala property, which has a colorful history. It was built in 1350 by Angelo Monaldeschi, the scion of a family battling for control of Orvieto. The most warlike of his brothers, he became known by the name della Vipera, or viper, while his oldest brother took the name della Cervara. Angelo’s grandson, Gentile, was the first to call himself della Sala, and in 1437 he became the dictator of Orvieto. For the next decade, he warred with the della Cervaras.
In 1480, the family called a truce when Gentile’s son, Pietro Antonio Monaldeschi della Vipera della Sala married his cousin, Giovanna Monaldeschi della Cervara. Together, they restored the castle and lived in it until 1518, when Pietro Antonio died and Giovanna gave the property to the Opera del Duomo in Orvieto, a charitable institute run by the Catholic Church. In 1861, Italy was unified and the state seized all church property. A series of owners followed until the Antinori family purchased and restored Castello della Sala.
Today, the property is nearly 1,250 acres, of which a third is planted with vines. About half of the vineyards are devoted to Umbria’s indigenous grapes Grechetto and Procanico, an Umbrian clone of Trebbiano. The 2009 Campogrande Orvieto Classico is a blend of 40 percent each of those two grapes, and 15 percent verdello and 5 percent malvasia. After pressing the grapes, the alcoholic fermentation takes place in tanks and the wine is stored in them, at a low temperature, until bottling.
This uncomplicated process produces a clear white wine with a tinge of emerald color. Its almond and mild fruit aromas are followed by honeydew melon and mild citrus flavors. The light body, crisp acidity, and low alcohol make the wine refreshing on hot days.
The 2009 Antinori Campogrande Orvieto Classico is an ideal aperitif or a tasty companion to seafood salads, sushi rolls, and crab cakes. And the price is no sweat, too.
The 2009 Antinori Campogrande Orvieto Classico retails for approximately $13.
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