Milziade Antano “Bianco di Milziade” Umbria IGT 2014
Hang a map of Italy, throw a dart smack in the middle and chances are you’ll hit Montefalco. Immediately, you’ll start dreaming of the rich, fatty spit-roasted lamb you had the last time you were there, and how wonderfully it paired with the local Sagrantino!
One can be excused for thinking primarily of the red wines of Montefalco as they certainly dominate the quality landscape there. But we all love surprises, so when a white wine from the region of Umbria stands out, it’s cause for celebration. And a great excuse to add a new wine to our Quartino list.
MIlziade Antano is a benchmark Umbrian producer, right next to other traditionalists like Paolo Bea. The Antano family tend a small plot of vines whose planting dates back to the mid-1970s. They’re super low-tech, eschewing the use of new French oak and whiz bang winemaking gadgets. The vineyards are low yield, producing small crops of intensely flavored berries. The wines hew to the Old School, which in this part of Umbria (as far as the reds are concerned) means lots of tannin, plenty of acidity and an earth-focused impression on the palate. The white wines are a bit more playful, perfect as an aperitivo or paired with some of our lighter dishes. Spring appears to be showing its face early this year, making the Bianco di Milziade an appropriate and delicious choise for March’s Wine of the Month.
Bianco di Milziade 2014 is a field blend, comprised of Grechetto, Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Tocai. The vines, planted in a truly tiny 1ha vineyard, are nearing their 40th birthday, so yields are low but very high quality. Soils here are rich with clay and fossilized marine life, bearing witness to this region’s ancient history as a seabed. On the nose the wine is crisp and lively, full of green apple, crushed stone and spring flowers. The defining quality on the palate is freshness, it’s got that perfect balance of acidity and minerality that makes Italian white wines feel so vital. The fruit here leans towards the malic, with plenty of green apple skin and once-bitten Golden Delicious. It’s a little taste of Umbrian sunshine in a glass, and a perfect way to bring in the Spring at Babbo!