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New Vintages of Paolo Bea: Santa Chiara, Arboreus and Lapideus

New Vintages of Paolo Bea: Santa Chiara, Arboreus and Lapideus

New Vintages of Paolo Bea

Paolo Bea is one of those names that almost that has almost become a secret code in the wine consumers world. Not for the un-savvy shopper. Those who speak about it are normally avid collectors who appreciate great values. And while PaoloBea is not cheap, for what it can do in the cellar over time, there is literally nothing like it. Speaking personally, I have only tried one older one before from 2001 that was still so young; the tannins hit the brakes on my palate as if I came to a red light with a group of school children crossing the street. It had barely aged a day.  The strange thing is that many people still don't know what these wines are capable of, since the amount of pre-2000 that exists in the U.S. is very slim and not many have claimed a taste.

For today, we are featuring their 3 special white wines––really orange––that have become the iconic side of skin contact wines.  If you haven't tried these yet, oh boy you have no idea what you're missing. Get your life together and press the buy now button!
  • 10% off 6, 15% off 12
  • Wine is ready to ship 
  • New Vintages of Red Wines due in October

2016 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara Umbria Bianco
Another longstanding skin-contact favorite in the Bea lineup, “Santa Chiara” is the easygoing younger brother of the more inward and serious “Arboreus.” Produced from equal parts Grechetto, Garganega, Malvasia, Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, from a small parcel in the great “Pagliaro” vineyard, it still spends several weeks on its skins, yet with a briefer elevage in steel. This 2016 is juicy and ripe, with beguiling aromas that lean toward the floral and spicy (as opposed to the more somber and earth-driven aromatics of “Arboreus”). It displays a bold tannic presence, but the palate is more delineated and perkier than that of the “Arboreus,” with vivid, crunchy pit fruits and lurking mineral heft. Like Bea’s peerless red wines, “Santa Chiara” is a wine of opposing forces, both exuberant and firm, both challenging and deeply delicious.

2015 Paolo Bea "Lapideus" Umbria Bianco

Giampiero acquired a parcel of 80-year-old Trebbiano Spoletino in the town of Pigge di Trevi several years back, and thus with this 2014 we have an exciting new addition to the Bea lineup. Arising from a cooler microclimate than the “Arboreus” above, “Lapideus” spent a lengthy 35 days on it skins after pressing, followed by 210 additional days on the gross lees—a similar vinification to “Arboreus,” yet one that yielded entirely different results. Though no less deeply amber in its appearance, “Lapideus” has a leaner, racier carriage than the broad-shouldered “Arboreus,” with more filigree, a less overwhelmingly intense nose of apricots, cloves, and candied ginger. If “Arboreus” is a sea to swim in, “Lapideus” is a rocket to ride, emphasizing drive and lift over layered density. It is still a wine of impressive power, especially given its modest 12% alcohol, but the fruit here is more direct, pure, and foregrounded. So often the so-called “orange wines” seem to stand alone, iconoclastic creations that defy fine-tuned peer-group comparisons and revel in their singular personalities. Even the discourse that surrounds them tends to treat them more as wines of technique than wines of terroir. Thus, it is fascinating to experience the same grape variety given roughly the same treatment by the same grower, whereby the differences in the wines are largely driven by the differences in their underlying places of origin. 

2012 Paolo Bea Arboreus Bianco
Special Newsletter Price: $64.99
One of the early success stories in the modern-day revival of skin-macerated white wines, Bea’s beloved “Arboreus” originates from exceedingly old Trebbiano vines (up to 150 years of age) in the village of Spoleto, halfway between Bea’s home village of Montefalco and nearby Trevi. A striking instance of non-standard training, these ancient vines wrap themselves around the trunks and branches of trees (hence the wine’s name), growing and ripening high above the ground. Bea picks the fruit quite ripe, and conducts an extended skin maceration (in the case of the 2012, 23 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 supreme confidence in the quality of one’s raw materials. Whereas, the 2011 was lavish and opulent, this 2012 cuts a leaner figure, with a dazzling nose of marzipan, fresh apricot, gunflint, and Indian spices—not a far cry from the coveted and cultish Trebbiano from the Valentini clan in Abruzzo, in fact. The palate is chiseled, markedly tannic (though well-balanced), and driven by resonant acidity, with the marzipan and apricot notes echoing strongly. The 2012 is perhaps the most poised and focused version of this wine we have yet seen, and the fact that it arose from such a challengingly hot vintage is testament to Giampiero’s mastery of craft. “Arboreus” must be served no cooler than cellar temperature to appreciate its full spectrum of aromas and flavors.
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