Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

Val d’Orcia

Val d’Orcia – mixed farming and viticulture

The Val d’Orcia is an extensive, beautiful and disparate DOC, created in 2000, which sits between the two giants of southern Tuscany: Montepulciano and Montalcino.  The DOC is fairly flexible while having a clear connection with the past: it requires a minimum 60% Sangiovese in the Rosso and a minimum 50% Trebbiano in the Bianco.  The clearest sign of intent is the new Orcia Sangiovese DOC, available from the 2011 harvest, which not only requires 90% Sangiovese (when EU law would have allowed 85%) but also demands that the blending grapes are Tuscan – for example, Canaiolo, Colorino; not Merlot or Syrah.  This is a clear statement that this ‘Sangiovese’ is going to be a thoroughly Tuscan wine. 

Generally speaking, the land here is flatter and lower than Montalcino and the agriculture is definitely mixed.  Vineyards take their place alongside cereals and animals.  The prosciutto and especially the cheese (Cacio from Pienza) are more famous than the wines, while the truffle is king in the woods.   But the wines are well worth exploring and extremely good value. 

Marco Capitoni has become a great friend and colleague on Tuscan Harvest Watch. On the next page, I review the wines, including a rare vertical of the wines of Capitoni, Podere Sedime. At the other end of the investment scale, the Val d’Orcia has also attracted well-funded investors with great ambition. My review of the wines of Podere Forte tasted in August 2018 can be found here.  

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