Paolo Bea 2013 'Arboreus' Trebbiano, Umbria Bianco IGT
Item Number: 13989
Sub Region: Umbria
Appellation/AVA: Umbria IGT
Estate Grown Wine: Yes
Grape(s): 100% Trebbiano Spoletino
Type: Wine - White
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alc by Vol(%): 12.5
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Vineyard Notes: Arboreus is one of the most unorthodox and fascinating skin-contact white wines in the entire world. Arboreus is produced entirely from Trebbiano Spoletino, a local strain named after the town of Spoleto. This is no ordinary Trebbiano, however—these are pre-phylloxera vines trained on trees in the fashion of the ancient Etruscans, with some vines exceeding 150 years of age. That’s correct: these grapes grow and develop with next to no human interference whatsoever, winding themselves around the trunks and branches of tall trees in a grove in Spoleto and ripening high above the ground.
Winemaking Notes: In the cellar, the crushed grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel with no temperature regulation. Bea picks the fruit quite ripe and conducts an extended skin maceration (in the case of the 2014, 25 days), after which he leaves the wine on its gross lees for the better part of a year—a technique that nourishes the wine and ensures its ultimate expressive depth, but one which requires total confidence in the quality of one’s raw materials. The wine was bottled a full four years after harvest with minimum sulfites and no fining or filtration.
Vintage Notes: Giampiero’s wines always proudly display their vintage, and he pointedly resists striving for a consistent "product" from year to year. Two consecutive growing seasons, 2013 and 2014, brought widespread outbreaks of downy mildew to Bea’s vineyards, resulting in enormous losses: only a single wine, Arboreus, was produced in the particularly devastating 2013 vintage, and 2014 yielded just one red wine instead of the usual four—a blend of the viable fruit sourced from all his vineyards and labeled San Valentino. Giampiero is unwavering in his “take Nature as it comes” approach, and his scant production over these two years is merely a reflection of the immense difficulties his vineyards faced. The end results, however, are fascinating—honest reflections of challenging seasons that vary slightly from their typical expressions yet are Bea wines through and through.
Tasting Notes: Standing as the only wine Giampiero produced in the arduous, downy-mildew-affected 2013 vintage, this version is a particularly nimble, mineral-driven rendition of Arboreus with notes of quinine, citrus zest, and fresh almonds atop a particularly lithe and delicate frame. The wine certainly does not lack for power, but its overall impression is less juicily tannic than in more typical vintages—and, at the end of the day, it’s a wine only Giampiero Bea could produce. User’s note: Arboreus should be served no cooler than cellar temperature to appreciate its full spectrum of aromas and flavors.