From: Lazio, Italy
Taste: Upon opening the wine, I discovered abundant notes of apricot, mango, and pineapple (pineapple upside-down cake). After five minutes of being open, the wine was almost unrecognizable in the glass (in a good way). Those notes of apricot, mango, and pineapple were still present but beautifully balanced by layers of orange zest, sea spray, clean linen, mint, white flowers, almond, and white pepper. You'll notice this wine's grippy, mineral texture, lifted finish on the palate, stone fruit, baking spice, and orange zest lead. Suppose you’re a fan of wines from varietals and places like Grillo (Sicilian grape that makes beachy whites) from Sicily, Pinot Grigio from Friuli, and balanced, fresh wines made from Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne (either as a single-varietal wine or blend) white wines from France. In that case, this will be a new hit in your wine repertoire.
Pairing: Bellone is perfect with a classic Roman dish: the Vignarola, made with fava beans, artichokes, peas, lettuce and spring onion (see recipe below). But also with pasta alla Gricia (which is said to have inspired the Amatriciana) given its distinct acidity and minerality that go well with fatty dishes. The wine is also perfect with slightly aged Pecorino Romano, lean cured meats or freshwater fish, especially local fritto misto.
Other lovely pairings include the classic icons of Roman cuisine such as soups with broad beans or herb-flavored risottos. Additionally, the varietals bright acidity makes it a great match for seafood, pasta dishes with light sauces, and vegetarian dishes. It also pairs well with white meats such as chicken and turkey.
La Vignarola Roman-Style Spring-Vegetable Stew
By Sara Dickerman
About the varietal. Bellone is an ancient grape varietal believed to have been cultivated way back in the Roman times. Pliny the Elder himself referred to it as "Uva Pantastica" or "pane d'uva" (a grape as good as bread). Now grown almost exclusively in Lazio, this grape does best near the sea- making the small coastal town of Anzio the perfect place to cultivate this lively grape.
The persistent sea breeze of the region contributes to the over-ripening of the grapes, lending to rich notes of tropical fruits like papaya and mango that are balanced by a pronounced minerality and zesty tang that lingers on the palate after each sip.
The Bellone grape is a very versatile grape, spread in Lazio, and especially in the provinces of Rome and Latina. The Bellone is a grape variety of ancient origin widely in the Castelli Romani in Roman times and mentioned by Pliny as “grapes pantastica”. The Bellone is also known as Cacchione and makes part of many denominations of Lazio.
The berry is white, medium, round with thick, waxy skin, yellowish with brown streaks. The bunch is medium-large, cylindrical-conical, often winged, compact with a large, pentagonal, five-lobed leaf. The Bellone grape requires medium expansion and rich pruning. The most suitable soils are of volcanic origin. This grape has high vigor and a fairly abundant productivity though not constant. The wines produced with Bellone grapes are of an intense yellow color, with golden reflections. Intense aroma, fruity with notes of citrus and light mineral accent.
Find out more here. The Indigenous Bellone Grape and Wines by Casale del Giglio In Lazio Italy - Karl Kliparchuk, WSET
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