The winds of change are rustling the trees in Umbria, the central Italian winemaking region known for its robust reds made from the Sagrantino grape such as lauded producer Paolo Bea's Sagrantino di Montefalco. But this change is in the region's white wines, and producers are beginning to explore the potential of the Trebbiano Spoletino varietal, and are making it in new and surprising ways.
The Trebbiano Spoletino varietal, with the spritzy and bracing lemon acidity of the traditional Trebbiano varietal of Umbrian whites, is being crafted with extended skin contact. With harvests as late as the end of October, yielding unctuous ripeness, these conditions add layers upon textural layer of pink rose hue and mineral spice. The Raina "Spoleto" made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino sees eight days of fermentation on the skins with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats, and the wine has been neither clarified nor filtered. What is even more exciting about the resurgence of this homegrown varietal is the method the grape's vine is being trained in the vineyard.
Perched at almost 700 feet above sea level, Raina's Trebbiano Spoletino plantings are just below the town of Spoleto, trained in the ancient maritata style, where vines are literally "married" or trained up trees or local shrubs for support. This would be how any adventurer would encounter a vine in the wild.