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Details for Sergio Mottura, Orvieto ‘Tragugnano’

AppellationOrvieto DOC
Trebbiano Toscano
(click to find out more)
Cantina Sergio Mottura
(click to find out more)


Bordering Tuscany, Umbria and Abruzzo, the province of Lazio is the home province of Rome.  Once it produced lots of wine to keep thirsty Romans happy but vineyard area has been declining steeply in recent years.  This is partly due to vineyards disappearing under the houses of Rome’s commuter belt, but also due to the lack of any really famous wines.
Lazio is very much white wine country, as illustrated by its two best-known DOCs, Frascati and Est! Est!! Est!!! do Montefiascone.  Both of these, along with several other less well-known DOCs, are based on Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia di Candia, but none of them has a great reputation for quality.  Nor does Orvieto which, although thought of as an Umbrian DOC, extends into northeastern Lazio.
Having said that, the region’s volcanic soils and rocky terrain have the potential to produce excellent whites and reds.  A variety of individual producers make standout wines, often from international varieties, such as Falesco’s Montiano, one of Italy’s greatest Merlots.

Cantina Sergio Mottura

After Sergio Mottura’s estate turned to organic grapegrowing in the early 1990s, it became overrun with the rare and protected crested porcupine.  These animals are remarkably sensitive to pollution and pesticides and found Mottura’s clean, organically-managed vineyards the perfect haven.  Ever since, the creature has been the winery’s mascot and can be found on every Mottura wine label.
Mottura is widely believed to be one of Lazio’s greatest wine producers and is especially successful with Grechetto, the grape that traditionally was the backbone of the blend for the famous white Orvieto.  He has funded many university studies aimed at characterizing and studying the variety, which have helped him to select the best clones to plant.  This partly explains why Mottura’s wines are so different from those of neighbouring Umbria (the Mottura estate is located in Civitella d’Agliano, on the border between Lazio and Umbria).
Sergio was 21 when he came to the winery, and has never left.  His family acquired the 400 hectare estate in 1933 and dedicated 38 hectares to vinegrowing in 1963, planting Procanico (Trebbiano) and Montepulciano.  Grechetto was first planted in 1968 and, after much research and experimentation, the Mottura family discovered that it provided the best expression of their terroir.  Grechetto’s thick skins and consequent resistance to disease also lent itself to organic cultivation.
Today, Mottura’s top wines, both 100% Grechetto, are regarded as the best whites in Lazio: the minerally, unoaked Poggio della Costa and richer, oaked, rather Burgundian Latour a Civitella. The latter was named in honour of Sergio’s friend Fabrice Latour of Maison Louis Latour.  Fabrice acted as a mentor when Sergio decided to create a premium oaked Grechetto, suggesting different oak for the barrel fermentation and even lending Sergio his oenologists to help develop the wine.
Latour a Civitella was the first white wine from Lazio to win the Tre Bicchieri award, in 2004.  More recently, Gambero Rosso rewarded Sergio Mottura’s efforts and achievements over the years by naming him “Winemaker of the Year” in 2013.

about this wine About this wine

Sergio Mottura is widely regarded as the master of the Grechetto variety, and his top wines are indeed 100% Grechetto.  But they're not labelled as Orvieto, although they could be: DOC rules say Orvieto must be at least 60% Grechetto and/or Procanico (the local small-berried clone of Trebbiano Toscano).  Unfortunately the Orvieto name is too tarnished to put on the label of a really expensive wine, so he uses the Civitella d'Agliano IGT for those instead.
Tragugnano is his top DOC Orvieto, and it isn’t a pure Grechetto.  According to his website, the blend is 45% Procanico, 25% Verdello, 20% Grechetto and 10% Rupeccio.  The Procanico is actually from the estate’s oldest vines, planted by Sergio’s parents in the early Sixties.
The grapes were harvested late when fully ripe (14% is unusually strong for Orvieto) and gently pressed.  After cold settling, the must underwent a long, slow fermentation at low temperatures in stainless steel.  The wine was aged on its fine lees for 6 months in steel tanks before being filtered and bottled.  It was then aged for a further two months in bottle before release.

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