Giampaolo Tabarrini’s Trebbiano Spoletino

Giampaolo Tabarrini, currently the super-energetic, visionary President of the Montefalco Consorzio, is one of the young, iconic producers in Montefalco. Famous for his Sagrantino Crus, he’s equally well known for blazing the trail for the Trebbiano Spoletino grape, now one of the hottest varieties in Umbria with new plantings and new producers added every year.  His 2007 Trebbiano Spoletino was the first Umbrian white to receive tre bicchieri. Ten years ago just 5 wineries made Spoletino; today there are more than 20.

Giampaolo took over his family’s farm in the late 1990s and continued to produce a white blend made from Trebbiano Spoletino and Grechetto, the most widely planted white variety in Montefalco. The Trebbiano Spoletino came from ungrafted, old vines planted in 1920 the traditional, maritata way—vines “married” to trees with canes using high branches for support. In 2004, Giampaolo bottled Montefalco’s first single varietal Trebbiano Spoletino under the label Adarmando, fermented using ambient yeasts. Last year, while visiting the Tabarrini winery, Giampaolo opened one of his few remaining bottles of the 2004 Adarmando.  We compared it with two more recent bottlings from 2008 and 2020.

Trebbiano Spoletino has an unfortunate name as it is often confused with the pedestrian Trebbiano Toscano (Ugni Blanc). Indeed, Italy has several Trebbianos that are unrelated to each other. The thick skinned, late ripening Trebbiano Spoletino is an heirloom variety from the Umbria region.

Trebbiano Spoletino is produced in two main growing regions. In Montefalco, it represents at least 50% of the blend in the Montefalco Bianco DOC.  In the Spoleto appellation, it must be 100% of the wine called Trebbiano Spoletino. While these two appellations overlap, much of the Trebbiano Spoletino grown in Montefalco lies outside the Spoleto DOC.  That is the case for the Tabarrini Adarmando, a 100% Trebbiano Spoletino wine, which carries the Montefalco Bianco DOC appellation.

Wines made from Trebbiano Spoletino vary in style.  Some are light and fruity, but the best ones are less aromatic, deeper in flavor, and more complex. Giampaolo’s wine and several others that we tasted in Montefalco fall into this latter category.  Below we give our impressions of the 2004, 2008 and 2020 vintages; the latter is the only one given a score.

The US importer of Tabarrini’s wines is Cantiniere Imports.

The Wines

Tabarrini 2004 Adarmando Montefalco Bianco IGT  Earthy dried fruit and baking spice show on the nose.  Quite dense and unctuous and fresh tasting on the palate. This was Umbria’s first bottling of a single varietal Trebbiano Spoletino. It was a real treat to taste this wine, which despite being bottled with a silicon cap reveals the ageability of the grape.

Tabarrini 2008 Adarmando Montefalco Bianco IGT  Medium dark gold. A very fragrant wine revealing an inner sweetness of dried mango, stonefruit and honeycomb on the palate with juicy acidity.  Concentrated and ripe tasting with a very long, rich finish.

Tabarrini 2020 Adarmando Montefalco Bianco IGT 94  Luminescent, medium yellow straw, showing honeyed florals, crisp Granny Smith, and melon on the nose. Pure and bright on the attack with notes of quince and citrus-tinged stone fruit.  Precise and dense with saline minerals on a silky palate with pronounced phenolics and a very long finish.  Sourced from 100+ year old vines, fermented in stainless steel with ambient yeasts, and aged 12 months on the lees.

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Giampaolo Tabarrini’s Trebbiano Spoletino  
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