Though today Orvieto Classico D.O.C. 'secco' is the major success, for centuries Orvieto wine was characteristically slightly sweet, a condition sought and obtained through forced maturation of the grapes and vinification in the cool cellars carved out of the tufa rock. The straw yellow colour is intense, the flavours are those of mature fruits, sweet and rich. The satisfying acidity on the palate is accompanied by a soft sweet sensation, which smoothes it and gives it roundness and fullness.
Apart from the varieties from white grapes that have made this area famous, for centuries varieties such as Sangiovese and Canaiolo from red grapes have been produced: the first witness to this is in 1400 but probably the cultivation had already begun in Roman times. The oldest mention that is of concern to us dates back to 1884, when a 'fine' red wine was presented and given a prize at a wine demonstration in Rome. The tradition continues today with this wine of an intense ruby red with purple tints, fruity flavours of ripe cherries combined with a light note of vanilla, which emerges in the glass with a hint of mint. Fruity on the palate, with good tannic character and freshness but pleasantly rounded and harmonious.
The result of centuries of devotion, selection and experience, this wine is the taste portrait of this area: cool as the air on the Orvieto rock, soft as the surrounding hills, direct/candid/plain/frank/open and sincere like the local people. The typically straw yellow colour with greenish tints illustrates its youthfulness. Delicate floral flavours with a light acidity to preserve them melt on the palate and then there is a characteristic slightly bitter after-taste. A joyful wine, sociable, rounded in its reliable simplicity, a wine that is always a good accompaniment.
This wine sprang from the desire to link up with one of the most interesting grape varieties that exist. Traluce was immediately successful beyond all expectations. A variety of great complexity, Sauvignon has found an ideal habitat in our soil, thanks also to the right agronomic choices. The vinification is meticulous, attention to detail here being categorically imperative, but today, after 20 years of experiment, we can say that the challenge has been met. Its colour is pale yellow with vivid greenish tints, and its full bouquet goes from the fruitiness of pink grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit to the more mineral notes of sage and flint. It is fruity on the palate, it has an acid freshness but also a very soft smooth final taste.
An ancient grape variety that has always been cultivated in this area, one of the main grapes in Orvieto D.O.C., this variety is noted for producing grapes of great polyphenol character. The wine it produces, of intense golden yellow colour with traces of spice and vanilla, is rich and full, of good body but with a nice freshness that ensures its longevity. Exactly like the grape variety it comes from, Sole Uve has no fear of time. On the contrary it thrives on it, maturing and evolving in a challenge with no losers. A result of curiosity to know the real potential of one of the most interesting and special grape varieties of the area, Sole Uve is the new that is born of the old, the fantasy that is born of experience.
Gaudio represents one of the best results in over a hundred years of trials and experiments aimed at finding new synergy between our territory and non traditional varieties, a process which began in 1884 with the Tokai grape. The result of experiments, errors, happy intuitions, Gaudio is a wine with body and depth, intriguing. A rich intense ruby red, it opens in the glass in a full aromatic bouquet with hints that range from cherry to blackberry, from cocoa to tobacco to leather. On the palate it is full and enveloping, with a good balance between tannins and smoothness, opening out to a fresh mintiness.
The complexity of the grape varieties of strong aromatic connotation such as Moscato, Sauvignon blanc and Viogner, the uniqueness of our soil's characteristics and the patient work of the sun are woven together to give grapes that are full, juicy and of rich extraction. The wine obtained from this has an old gold colour with amber tints. To the nose flavours of dried fruit, jam, ripe apricots and candied orange alternate with hints of honey, almond and vaguely vanilla notes. It is enveloping, round and full on the palate, with a good flavour that balances its sweetness and enhances the olfactory sensations.
Produced from the grapes of the oldest vineyards, which are rich in energy but with a low yield, Lunato represents the best in terms of quality and local character that can be got from this soil. Straw yellow with gold tints, it has floral flavours of acacia combined with lingering suggestions of ripe fruit, golden delicious apples and apricot. It is smooth and enveloping on the palate, warm and rich but with a fresh lively acidity in a perfect harmony of sensations. It is elegantly festive, the Orvieto for special occasions.
A grape variety which is very particular in its behaviour, at times positively chameleon-like, it is as generous as it is difficult. It is as powerful and schizophrenic as a thoroughbred horse to tame. The characteristic high acidity of the grapes, their rough tannins and their naturally resulting astringency are elements which, if one knows how to deal with them, determine the strength, depth and longevity of the wine they produce. The search for excellence then comes from great experience in the vineyard and the cellar, carefully identifying the type of support for the vines, the yields, the positioning of the bunches, agronomic practices, the best moment for harvesting, and a thousand other awarenesses that domesticate this grape's character. A ruby red with deepish pomegranate tints, flavours of amarena cherry, bilberry and plum well blended with sweet hints of cocoa and licorice. On the palate a light acid freshness backs up energetic tannins. All smoothed into balance and softness.
The aristocratic elegance of Cabernet Sauvignon combined with the authenticity of the Sangiovese in a match that is stunning for its style and depth, this wine is the fruit of an ongoing process to reach ever more convincing results in the search for a wine that will outlast fashion and market trends. But the more one seeks high level results, the less definitive any target achieved can seem. And it is precisely this infinite passion that pushes us, because it is unending, to love the work of development in the vineyard and the cellar. A synthesis if this ongoing search for ever-better results, Calanco is the mouthpiece for our passion, the spirit even of these lands and the people who live in them. A wine that is appreciated not only for what it gives but above all for what it is, a concentration of the commitment, passions and hopes of dozens of people who over time have not only contributed to its fullness and elegance but have given it a unique and rare conceptual depth. A deep ruby red with purple tints, it has scents of red fruits, redcurrants, raspberries and bilberries along with spicy and balsamic notes in the glass. The taste is intense and elegant, and the typical Cabernet spiciness becomes a gentle flavour of paprika. A smooth, mellowed tannin gives a long-lasting soft silky finish with a delicate hint of vanilla.
An intermingling of vines with their roots in the tufo rock and their vision turned to a future of wine…
The hill on which the Le Velette estate is situated, to the east of the rock on which stands Orvieto, has always been a point of great agricultural and strategic interest in the course of its three thousand year history. The position, controlling a good part of the valley of Orvieto, the volcanic terrain exposed to the sun from dawn till dusk, and the special microclimate with significant thermal swings between night and day have always been its good fortune. The first to see its great wine-growing potential were the Etruscans, the people who had already in the 7th century B.C. imported the vine from the Greeks. They certainly used the hill as a rural settlement for its cultivation and dug grottoes in the tufo rock, (just as we still do today), which offered excellent conditions for wine conservation. During Roman times, the hillside kept its wine-making role but developed significantly also as a strategic check point: right in the middle of the present estate, where Villa Felici stands today, a control tower was built and a resting-place for travellers, which led to significant development in the area. After a difficult period of barbarian and Longobard invasions, the area regained great importance as papal state land. In this period the Etruscan grottoes were extended and became a safe refuge and place of worship for the first monks who settled there soon after. With the advent of feudalism, the area passed into the hands of the Negroni counts, feudal lords of a nearby village, preserving its wine-making function for centuries before being given in endowment to a monastic order by a descendent who had become an abbot. At the unification of Italy everything went to the city of Orvieto, which sold the estate to the Felici family. And so began the first experimentations in the vineyard and the cellar which led in very few years to the production of excellent wines, as is testified by the medals won in that period in Roman oenological competitions. The estate's wine went into commerce in the new-born Italy. The fundamental step towards modern viticulture and oenology was taken in the 1950s when the brilliant Tuscan agronomist, Marcello Bottai, and his wife Giulia, a descendent of the Felici family, chose to make the estate their home and life project. This was the start of a period of development geared to a proper appreciation of the full potential not only of the firm but also of the whole district. The production of high quality wines was established along with the setting up of systems for the development and protection of Orvieto viticulture. A fundamental move was the foundation with other producers of what would become the present consortium for the safeguard of Orvieto wines. An absolutely innovative vision for the times that the young couple not only had had the wit to conceive but which they also had the courage and determination to bring into existence.