Sunday, February 2, 2014

La Palazzola, Umbria's Best Bubbly

Years ago I was at Civico 25 in Perugia and Filippo proudly poured us a glass of this sparkling Riesling.  He said,”try this it's amazing, and I'm so proud to say that it's Umbrian.”  We tried it and agreed with Filippo, it was excellent, and from Umbria, not your typical bubbly wine source.
Years later I found myself at the winery of La Palazzola.  

I always like to do a winery visit and create an identity with the terroir, wine and viticoltore.
I called 2 days before and made an appointment to visit the winery.  It was a cold winter afternoon in Terni, ideal to go wine tasting. This place wasn't easy to find, but thanks to a call into my wine guy we found it with no probelm, but without that call we wouldn’t have found it at all.  There is no name that identifies the winery, and I think Mr. Grilli likes it that way.

After a short wait in the periwinkle blue tasting room, while listening to some baroque classical music, 

we were lead on a winery tour by Stefano Grilli, who called himself a “Spumantista”(one who makes sparkling wine).
Stefano Grilli is, a lets say, a unique man who really knows what he is doing.

licheni, a type of fungus that only grows on the bark of vines where no pesticides have been used

He cultivates mostly international grape varietals with Trebbiano as his only local grape.
anfore full of an experimental Trebbiano


Stefano Grilli

We tried a couple of Trebbiano’s one straight from the vat

that were quite good and another from the bottle Stefano pulled out of the ridding rack.  
Il Trebbiano

pupitres-ridding racks

After tasting those he asked me what my favorite wine was, and I said Pinot Noir.  He gets up from the table, disappears for 5 minutes and comes back with 2 bottles of Pinot, one from 1997 &1998.  
Pinot Noir
didn't know he made a Pinot.  I knew he had Pinot, but I thought it was strictly used for his Brut.
I have never tried a Pinot Noir from central Italy that I liked until today.

This Pinot was really close to the style of a Pommard.  Liked it.  Mr. Grilli even gave me a bottle to take home.  Unfortunately they don't make it anymore.  He also was really happy to go get a shovel and dig me up a terroir sample too.  Very interesting afternoon which gave me a clear identity of La Palazzola which will not be forgotten.

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